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CopyrigM, 1886 and 1890, 

ty John G. Nicolat 

and John Hat. 

Vol. V 

Abraham Lincoln Frontispiece 

Prom a photograph bearing an inscription by Mr. Lincoln 
to Mrs. Lucy G. Speed, dated Washington, D. C, October 3, 


Rear-Admieal Silas H. Steingham 16 

Prom a photograph by Brady. 
Rear- Admiral Charles Wilkes 32 

From a photograph by Anthony. 

General William Nelson 48 

Prom a photograph by Brady. 
General Henry W. Halleck 80 

Prom a photograph. 

Rear-Admiral Andrew Hull Poote 112 

From a photograph by Anthony. 
Simon Cameron 128 

From a photograph by Brady. 
Edwin M. Stanton 144 

Prom a photograph. 

General D. C. Buell 160 

From a photograph lent by General James B. Pry. 

General C. F. Smith 192 

Prom a photograph by Brady. 
RoscOE Conkling 208 

Rear- Admiral John L. Woeden 224 

Prom a photograph taken in 1875. 


Eeae-Admibal Louis M. Goldsboeotjgh 240 

From a photograph lent by Henry Carey Baird. 

Admiral David Glasgow Fabraqut 272 

From a photograph by Brady. 
General Albert Sidney Johnston, at the age op 57 — 336 

From a photograph taken in Salt Lake City in 1860. 
General G. T. Beauregard 352 

From a photograph taken in 1863. 
General Samuel P. Heintzelman 416 

From a photograph by Brady. 

Vol. V 


Early Coast Operations 2 

Tennessee and Kentucky 64 

Missouri ^6 

The Defenses of Washington in 1862 176 

Fort Donelson 185 

Hampton Roads and the Battle op the "Monitor" and 

" Mbreimac " 232 

Battle of Eoanoke Island 248 

The Lower Mississippi 256 

Battle of Pea Eidge 288 

Military and Naval Operations about Island No. 10.. 304 

Battle of Shiloh 320 

The Peninsular Campaign 368 

Positions Preliminaby to the Battle of Seven Pines... 384 

Jackson's Campaign in the Shenandoah Valley 400 

Region of the Seven Days' Fighting— Part I 432 

Region of the Seven Days' Fighting— Part II 443 

Vol. V 
Chaptee I. Hattekas and Poet Eoyal 

The Blockade. Serviceable Ships. Assistant Secretary 
Fox. An Improvised Navy. New Gunboats and Iron- 
clads. The Question of Closing Insurrectionary Ports. 
The Privateer Sumter. The Savannah Privateersmen. 
The Hatteras Expedition. Capture of the Ports. A 
Naval Expedition Prepared. The Fleet Sails for Port 
Royal. Capture of Forts Walker and Beauregard . . 1 

Chapter n. The " Trent " Affair 

Confederate Envoys to Europe. Captain Charles 
Wnkes. The British Mail Steamer Trent Overhauled. 
Mason and ShdeU Eemoved. The Trent Allowed to 
Proceed. The Prisoners Conveyed to Fort Warren. 
Congratulations to Captain Wilkes. Comments by 
President Lincohi. Public Feeling in England. British 
War Measures. Lord Pahnerston's Note. The Queen 
and Prince Albert. The British Demand. Lincoln's 
Draft of a Dispatch. Seward's Dispatch. Surrender 
of Mason and SKdeU 21 

Chapter III. The Tennessee Line 

End of Kentucky's Neutrality. The Rebels Occupy 
Columbus. General A. S. Johnston Assigned to Con- 
federate Command in the West. Buckner Occupies 


Bowling Green. ZollioolEer Invades Eastern Ken- 
tucky. Legislature Demands Confederate Withdrawal. 
Grant Occupies Paducah. Anderson Resumes Com- 
mand la Kentucky. Sherman's Advance to Mul- 
draugh's HUI. Preparations to Defend Frankfoi-t. 
Skerman Succeeds Anderson. Cameron's Conference 
with Sherman. Lincoln's Letter to Governor Morton. 
Johnston CaUs Out Eeenforcements. His Defensive 


Chapter IV. East Tennessee 

Loyalty of East Tennessee. Maynard and Clements 
Elected to Congress. The Work of Nelson and Carter. 
Governor Hanis's Call for Help. Liacoln Suggests 
Expedition to East Tennessee. Thomas Recommends 
Movement on East Tennessee. Sherman Relieved 
from Command. Buell Sent to Kentucky. Lincoln 
Proposes a Railroad to East Tennessee. McClellan 
Repeats His Instructions. Buell's Inaction. Corre- 
spondence About the East Tennessee Movement. Lin- 
cohi's Letter to Buell. East Tennessee Movement 
Abandoned. A Union Rising. Execution of Bridge- 
burners. Arrest of "Parson" Brownlow 58 

Chaptee V. Halleck 

Department of Kansas Created. Hunter Assigned to 
Command. Halleck Assigned to Command the De- 
partment of Missouri. General Pike and the Indians. 
The Lane Expedition. General Halleck. Price's Call 
for Volunteers. Ex-Governor Jackson Convenes his 
Rebel Legislature. Missouri Admitted to Confederate 
States. Correspondence Between Halleck and Price. 
Pope's Victory near Milford. Curtis's Campaign in 
Southwest Missouri. Halleek's Order No. 3. State 
Convention Reassembles. Missouri State Militia Or- 
ganized. Amnesty and Oaths of Allegiance ... 81 

Chaptee VI. Lincoln Dieects Coopeeation 

The Illness of McClellan. Lincoln's Suggestions to 
Western Commanders. The Tennessee Expedition 
Urged. Halleek's Views on the Western Campaign. 


Lincoln Directs Concert of Action. Grant's Tennessee 
Eeconnaissance. Military Conditions at Cairo. Mc- 
Clernand's March to Mayfleld. Smith's March to 
Calloway. Gnnboat Reconnaissance of Fort Henry. 
McClernand's Report. Lincoln's Advice on the 
Western Campaign. Halleck Suggests a Tennessee 
Movement 99 

Chaptee VII. Gkant and Thomas in Kentucky 

Characteristics of Grant. His Early Western Duties. 
Commands the Post of Cairo. The Battle of Belmont. 
Grant's Narrow Escape. Lincoln's Letter to Me- 
Clemand. Thomas in Eastern Kentucky. ZoUicofEer's 
Camp. BueU's Orders to Thomas. ZoUicoffer Attacks 
Thomas. Death of ZoUicoffer. Rebel Retreat from 
Mill Springs. The Western Gunboats. The Capture 
of Fort Henry Ill 

Chapter VIII. Cameron and Stanton 

Arming Contrabands. Cameron's Report on Arming 
Slaves. Lincoln Modifies Cameron's Report. Cam- 
eron Appointed Minister to Russia. Stanton Made 
Secretary of War. Censure of Cameron by the House 
of Representatives. Lincoln's Special Message. Stan- 
ton and Buchanan. Lincoln's First Meeting with 
Stanton. Stanton's Criticisms of Lincoln. Personal 
Relations Between the Two. Stanton's Duties and 
Services. Lincoln's Note about Mrs. Baird. Corre- 
spondence about the Discharge of Certain Prisoners. 
The Incident about Prisoners-of-War at Rock Island . 123 

Chapter IX. Plans of Campaign 

Lincoln Suggests a Plan of Campaign. McCleUan's 
Notes and Answers. Committee on the Conduct of 
the War Appointed. Lincoln's Admonitions to Mc- 
CleUan. McCleUan's Estimate of the Enemy. John- 
ston's Report of His Force. Confederate Council of 
War. McCleUan's Illness. Lincoln's CouncUs of War. 
Lincoln's General War Order, No. 1. The President's 
Special War Order, No. 1. McCleUan's Council of War. 
The Harper's Ferry Fiasco. General War Orders 
No. 2 and No. 3 148 


Chaptek X. Manassas Evacuated 

News of the Evacuation of Manassas. Johnston Ex- 
pects an Attack. Rebels Uncertain About MeClellan's 
Movements. The March to Manassas. Quaker Guns. 
McClellan Removed from Chief Command. The Coun- 
cil at Fairfax Court House. Its Plan Approved by 
Lincoln. The Army Moved to Fort Monroe. The 
Protection of Washington. McDowell's Corps Ordered 
to Remain 173 

Chapter XI. Foet Donelson 

Confederate Council of War at Bowling Green. John- 
ston Resolves "To Fight for Nashville at Donelson." 
Fort Donelson reenforced. Views of Union Com- 
manders on the Tennessee Movement. McClellan 
Suggests a Combined Movement to HaUeck and BueU. 
Nashville Evacuated. Grant Invests Fort Donelson. 
Foote's Gunboat Attack. Conference Between Grant 
and Poote. Pillow and Buckner Attempt a Sortie. 
Council of Confederate Commanders. Escape of Floyd 
and Pillow. Buckner Proposes an Armistice. Grant 
Demands "Unconditional Surrender." Surrender of 
Fort Donelson. Grant Appointed Major-General. 
HaUeck Asks Command in the West 185 

Chapter XII. Compensated Abolishment 

Lincoln's Annual Message. The Subject of Slavery. 
Lincoln's Letter to Bancroft. Plan of Compensated 
Emancipation for Delaware. Special Message of March 
6. Letters to Raymond and McDougaH. Lincoln's First 
Interview with the Border State Representatives. 
Conkhng Offers Lineohi's Joint Resolution. The Joint 
Resolution Passed by Congress. Compensated Eman- 
cipation in the District of Columbia. Appropriation 
for Colonization 201 

The Merrimae Raised and Iron-clad. Ericsson and his 
Monitor. Council of War at the White House. Fox 
Sent to Fort Monroe. Appearance of the Merrimae. 


Slie Rams and Sinks the Cumberland. The Congress 
Shelled and Burned. An Excited Meeting at the White 
House. Duel Between the Monitor and Merrimac. Re- 
treat of the Merrimac. Lincoln's Orders to the Monitor. 
Lincoln, Stanton, and Chase Visit Fort Monroe. The 
Advance to Norfolk. Norfolk Occupied. The Merri- 
mac Destroyed 218 

Chapter XIV. Roanoke Island 

The Situation of Roanoke Island. Burnside's Coast 
Division. Expedition Against Roanoke Island. Bum- 
side Assigned to Command. Groldshorough Commands 
the Fleet. The Voyage to Hatteras. The Capture of 
Roanoke Island. Wise's Summary of the Confederate 
Loss. Destruction of the Rebel Fleet. Capture of 
Elizabeth City. Capture of New Berne. Capture of 
Fort Macon and Beaufort. General Gilmore Captures 
Fort Pulaski. Du Pont and Wright Occupy the 
Florida Coast 239 

Chaptee XV. Fakeagtjt's Victoey 

Origin of Farragut's Expedition. The Situation of 
New Orleans. Forts St. Philip and Jackson. The 
Council of War. Farragut Selected as Commander. 
The Union Fleet, Flotilla, and Army. The Rebel 
Forts, Defenses, and Gunboats. Bombardment by the 
Mortar Flotilla. The Passage of the Forts. The Hart- 
ford on Fire. The Fleet at New Orleans. LoveU 
Evacuates the City. The Surrender of New Orleans. 
Mumford Tears Down the Union Flag. The Flag Again 
Raised by Farragut. The Landing of Butler's Troops 
at Quarantine. Mutiny in Fort Jackson. Surrender 
of the Forts 252 

Chaptee XVI. New Orleans 

Forts Jackson and St. Phihp Occupied. General 
Butler Occupies New Orleans. The City Supplied with 
Food. Martial Law EstabUshed. Rebel Criticisms of 
Butler. Jefferson Davis's Proclamation of Outlawry. 
Arrest, Trial, and Execution of Mumford. Popidar 
Manifestations of Disloyalty. Butler's "Woman 


Order." Censures of Palmerston and " Punch." Butler's 
Farewell Address. Efficiency of His Military Govern- 
ment. Assessments and Charities. The Public Health. 
Quarantine and Yellow Fever. Rebel Contumacy and 
Intrigue 275 

Chapter XVII. Pea Eidge and :feLAND No. 10 

Curtis's Midwinter Campaign. Prioffl^etreats from 


Springfield. Curtis's Congratulatoryjfprder. Halleck 
Directs Viitti to Hold his Position. Van Dorn Sent to 
Command Confederate Armies in Arkansas. Proposes 
a Campaign Against St. Louis. Curtis Eetires to 
Sugar Creek. Battle of Pea Ridge. McCuUoeh and 
Mcintosh Killed. Defeat of the Confederates. Island 
No. 10 and its Defenses. Pope's Campaign. New 
Madrid Evacuated. Foote and his Gunboats at Island 
No. 10. The Canal. The Gunboats Run the Batteries. 
Surrender of Island No. 10. Pope's Army Ordered to 
Pittsburg Landing. Foote Relinquishes Command of 
the Union Gunboats 288 

Chapter XVIII. The Shiloh Campaign 

Halleck Asks for Command in the West. Receives 
McCleUan's Refusal. Lincoln Decides Against any 
Present Change. Nashville Occupied. The Tennessee 
River Expedition. HaUeek's Censure of Grant. Hal- 
leck Placed in Command of the Three Western Depart- 
ments. The Concentration at Pittsburg Landing. The 
Junction of Johnston and Beauregard at Corinth. 
Confederate Plan of Attack. Situation of the Battle- 
field. The Positions of Division Commanders. Battle 
of Pittsburg Landing, Sunday, April 6, 1862. Death 
of Albert Sidney Johnston. Capture of Prentiss. 
W. H. L. Wallace Mortally Wounded. The Situation 
at Sundown. Arrival of Buell and his Army on the 
Battlefield. The Battle of Monday, April 7. Retreat 
of the Confederates 303 

Chapter XIX. Halleck's Corinth Campaign 

Pope and his Army at Shiloh. Halleck Arrives and 
Takes General Command. Beauregard's force at 


Corinth. Halleck Moves on Corintli " With Pick and 
Shovel." News of Parragut's Victory. Lincohi's 
Letter to Halleck. Beauregard Evacuates Corinth. 
EUet's Earn Fleet. Eiver Battle at Memphis. Cap- 
ture of Memphis. Farragut at Vicksburg. He Re- 
turns to New Orleans. Reaseends the Mississippi to 
Vicksburg. Passes the Batteries. Farragut Descends 
the River to New Orleans. Buell's Advance Towards 
Chattanooga. Lincoln's Telegrams to HaUeck. Hal- 
leck Appointed Greneral-in-Chief 336 

Chapter XX. Yoektown 

McCleUan's Arrival on the Peninsula. His Force. 
Magruder's Force and Dispositions. McCleUan's First 
Plan Given Up. His Complaint Against the Navy and 
the Government. Why a Portion of McDowell's Corps 
Was Retained Before Washington. A Letter from the 
President Urging Action. Franklin's Division Sent to 
McCleUan, from McDowell. No Use Made of it. Mc- 
CleUan's Inexplicable Delay at Yorktown. Testimony 
of Officers on Both Sides. AfEair of Lee's MUls. Mc- 
CleUan's Attitude Towards the Government. John- 
ston's Preparations to Leave Yorktown. " Is Anything 
to be Done?" The Evacuation 358 

Chapter XXI. From Williamsburg to Fair Oaks 

The Pursuit of Johnston. The Battle of WUliamsburg. 
McCleUan's Agitation. Johnston Retires to Richmond. 
McCleUan caUs for Reenforcements. Letter from the 
President About Corps Commanders. McCleUan Claims 
that the Enemy are Double his Numbers. McDoweU 
Ordered to Join Him. His Claim that these Orders 
Kept Him on the Chickahominy. Refuted by Generals 
Webb and Fry. Battle of Hanover Court House. 
Johnston Resolves to Attack. Battle of Fair Oaks, or 
Seven Pines 376 

Chapter XXII. Stonewall Jackson's Valley 

Thomas Jonathan Jackson. His Early Life and Edu- 
cation. His Eccentricities. His Rehgious Fervor. 


His Self-consciousness. His Treatment of his Slaves. 
His Love of Fighting and Hatred of "the Enemy." 
His Defeat at Kernstown. His Second Campaign in 
the Shenandoah. Lincoln's Account of Banks's De- 
feat. Jackson Marches to the Potomac. His Retreat 
up the Valley. The President Orders MoDoweU and 
Fremont to Join at Strasburg. McDowell Arrives at 
the Rendezvous in Time. Fremont's Round-about 
March. Jackson Makes Good his Retreat. Defeats 
Fremont and Shields at Cross Keys and Port Re- 


Chapter XXIII. The Seven Days' Battles 

The Government Sends Large Reenforcements to Mc- 
Clellan. McDowell's Second Division Goes to him 
Under McCall. Weather Favorable ; but McClellan 
Does Not Move. J. E. B. Stuart Rides Around the 
Army of the Potomac. McClellan Calls for More Troops. 
Lee Resolves to Attack. Union and Confederate 
Forces. Lee's Plan of Battle. Confederates Defeated 
at Beaver Dam, but McClellan Orders Porter to "With- 
draw to Gaines's Mill. Battle of Gaines's Mill, or the 
Chickahominy. McClellan Withdraws his Army from 
the Chickahominy, and Changes his Base to the James. 
Battles at Savage's Station, Glendale, and Defeat of 
the Confederates at Malvern Hill. McCleUan Once 
More Retires to Harrison's Landing 413 

Chapter XXIV. Harrison's Landing 

McClellan's Extraordinary Dispatch from Savage's 
Station. The Reason why he was not Called to Ac- 
count for it. The President Replies to his Dispatches. 
Reenforcements Sent to McCleUan. His Letter from 
Harrison's Landing. The Beginning of his Political 
Career. His Censorious Letters. General Sherman's 
Opinion of Them. The President Visits the Army at 
Harrison's Landing. Correspondence About Ab- 
sentees. Halleck Sent to Harrison's Landing. It is 
Resolved to Withdraw the Army of the Potomac from 
the James. McClellan Protests and Asks for Reenforce- 
ments. His Delay in Obeying his Orders 441 




ONE of the first questions which the British chap. i. 
Cabinet asked of the new American Minister 
sent to England by Mr. Lincoln was, whether the 
President was serious in his proclamation of a 
blockade of aU the ports of the States in insurrec- 
tion. The coast was very extensive, said Lord 
John EusseU, stretching some three thousand miles 
along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico : " Was it 
the design of the United States to institute an ef- 
fective blockade in its whole extent, or to make 
only a declaration to that effect as to the whole, 
and to confine the actual blockade to particular Adams to 
points?" Mr. Adams replied that he had every May2i,i86i. 
reason for aflSrming that the blockade would be 
made effective ; that although the coast line was in 
reality very long, yet the principal harbors were 
comparatively few, only some seven to ten in num- 
ber, and those not very easy of access. It would 
therefore not require so numerous a fleet to guard 
them as might appear at first thought. 
Vol. V.—] 


Chap. I 

10 20 


This reply to some extent satisfied the inqtiiry. 
But even had it been strictly accurate, the ability 
of the American Q-overnment to fulfill its announce- 


ment might naturally have been doubted by foreign chap. i. 
powers. Our navy was rapidly falling into de- 
cadence. Of its ninety ships more than one-half 
had become useless. Among the remaining num- 
ber there were only about twenty-four that might 
be called really serviceable vessels, that is, those 
supplied with the indispensable modern adjunct of 
steam power. These however were, at the date of 
Mr. Lincoln's inauguration, not immediately avail- 
able. Thirteen of them were on distant foreign 
stations ; two were returning home from Vera 
Cruz ; two were stationed at Pensacola, tied up by 
the conditions of Mr. Buchanan's " Sumter and 
Pickens truce"; and only three steamships were 
in loyal ports, where they could be with certainty 
called to the instant service of the Grovernment.-^ 
If the Government had been compelled to deal 
with an established naval power ; if the Adminis- 
tration had been less vigorous and prompt in its 
action; or, if the patriotism of the people of the 
North had lacked its striking unanimity, the want 
of a large fleet ready for service at a critical 
moment might have been followed by very serious 
consequences. On the whole, the favoring con- 
ditions were on the side of the Union. Notwith- 

1 The fleet before Charleston twenty-two guns, and St. Louis, 

harhor consisted of the war twenty guns, 

steamers Pawnee, eight guns, These with the steamers Cni- 

Pooahontas, five guns, and the sader, eight guns, Mohawk, five 

revenue cutter Harriet Lane, five guns, the store-ship Supply, four 

guns. guns, and the sailing ship Cum- 

The fleet liefore Pensacola eon- Jeftoreti, twenty-four guns, con- 
sisted of the war steamers Pow- stituted the whole naval force of 
hatan, eleven guns, BrooMyn, the United States to which orders 
twenty-five guns, Wyandotte, five for immediate service could he 
guns, and the sailing ships, given on the day when the Presi- 
Sabine, fifty guns, Macedonian, dent established the blockade. 


Chap. I. standing the rebels had received an acknowledg- 
ment of belligerent rights, the vigorous diplomacy 
of Mr. Seward deterred European powers from 
extending further concessions, and led them to 
await the actual experiment of establishing the 
blockade which had been announced. Secretary 
Welles made all possible haste to improvise a 
navy, and the rapidity with which he accom- 
plished his task will remain the marvel of future 

In awarding the credit of the achievement, a due 
share must be allotted to the accomplished assist- 
ant secretary, Gustavus V. Fox, who had suggested 
and fitted out the Sumter expedition. Mr. Fox was 
a man of exceptional abilities, with an exceptional 
experience. He had passed eighteen years of his life 
in various grades of naval service from midshipman 
to lieutenant, including also detached service as cap- 
tain of one of a line of coast merchantmen. Resign- 
ing his commission in 1856, he had since passed 
five years in charge of an important manufacturing 
estabhshment. To his thorough professional train- 
ing was thus added a familiarity with the personnel 
and qualities of the navy on one hand, and the 
currents of thought and action in civil life on the 
other, which was of great value in his departmental 
duties. He had affable manners, a quick and accu- 
rate judgment, and an equipoise of personal bear- 
ing that neither elation of victory nor depression 
of defeat appeared ever to disturb or change. 
With such an assistant at his elbow Secretary 
Welles, from the first, was able to apply to every 
administrative act a professional scrutiny as to 
its need, fitness, and future effect which avoided 


many mistakes at the beginning, and secured chap.i. 
cumulative advantages. 

The absent ships were ordered home, but with 
the exception of the steam frigate Niagara, which 
returned from Japan a fortnight after the fall of 
Sumter, help came slowly owing to the long dis- 
tances orders had to be sent by mail. The ships 
of the Mediterranean squadron did not get back 
till midsummer, and those of the African squadron 
not till autumn. The first increase had therefore 
to be made by purchase and charter of merchant 
steamers, a resource which was promptly and 
largely resorted to. Every species of craft pro- 
pelled by steam, which could be strengthened and 
fitted to carry a gun, was made to do war duty. 
The result was a motley collection of vessels; 
nevertheless, under the peculiar conditions, many 
of them rendered admirable service in the blockade, 
particularly those capable of considerable speed. 
While these extemporized cruisers were sent as 
rapidly as possible to blockade stations, the Navy 
Department began buHding new vessels with aU 
the haste of which our public and private ship- 
yards were capable. Seven sloops of war had 
been authorized by Congress prior to Mr. Lincoln's 
inauguration. These, with another of the same 
class, were immediately begun at the several navy 
yards; while twenty-three smaller gunboats were 
put under contract at private establishments, and 
some of them were ready for service in the autumn 
of 1861. Three ironclads were also designed and 
contracted for, and the early achievement of one of 
them became historic. 

Foreign powers looked with incredulous eyes on 


Chap. I. these hasty and makeshift preparations. They 
could not recognize a war ship in an armed tug 
or ferry-boat, or expect that a vessel whose keel 
was not yet laid would be afloat in ninety days. 
More especially they could hardly anticipate that 
within a twelvemonth there would occur a sea- 
fight between novel maritime inventions so un- 
looked-for and startling as to revolutionize by that 
single contest the naval warfare of the world. 
It is probable that while politely listening, and 
apparently accepting our diplomatic promise to 
establish an effective blockade, they mentally re- 
served the expectation that in the actual condi- 
tion of affairs we must inevitably fail, at least so 
far as to justify their intervention, either to raise 
the blockade or recognize the Confederate States 
as an independent nation, whenever their con- 
venience or interest should dictate. One phase 
of American events was calculated to give foreign 
nations a truer impression, and to make them hesi- 
tate in their evident inclination to accept pre- 
maturely the dismemberment of the republic as a 
fixed fact. This was the popular unanimity of the 
North in its war sentiment and its unprecedented 
activity in pushing war measures, in furnishing 
volunteers, provisions, ships, and armaments in 
every available form, and in demonstrations urg- 
ing upon the Grovernment energy and action com- 
mensurate with the popular enthusiasm. 

Under the proclamations of the President and 
instructions of the Navy Department, the blockade 
did not begin simultaneously at all points, but by 
notifications from the various ships or fleets at 
their several stations. Considerable time thus 


elapsed before it became actually effective as in- chap. i. 
ternational law required. That this did not give 
rise to serious complications was due to two 
causes : first, that foreign nations did not hastily 
press their inquiry, and second, that the insurgents 
were themselves so destitute of vessels and sea- 
men that they could take no efficient counter- 
measures, either to break the blockade or evade 
it. Some advantage came to them from the un- 
obstructed importation of war material during the 
delay. Gradually, blockading ships appeared be- 
fore their several ports, and cut off their commerce. 
By the middle of July the blockade had become rea- 
sonably complete, and contraband trade could be 
carried on only by means of regular blockade-run- 
ners, a class of English-built steamers afterwards 
specially devised for concealment and speed. 

A little later the whole question of the blockade 
underwent a new discussion. The President's 
proclamation establishing it was issued after the 
fall of Sumter, when war measures had to be 
adopted under the stress of an immediate necessity 
which left no time for deliberate examination. In 
the absence of statutory provisions this seemed 
the only expedient at hand to shut off the com- 
merce of the world from the rebellious States. 
At the special session of Congress an act was 
passed, and approved by the President, giving the ise^^' 
Executive authority to close insurrectionary ports ; 
and many persons contended that this procedure 
ought, even now, to be adopted. The Cabinet 
was divided on the question; and the Secretary 
of the Navy submitted a long written opinion 
favoring the latter course. He contended that 


Chap. I. 



Aug. 6, 1861. 


a blockade was in some degree a recognition of 
belligerency; that we had a right to treat the 
question as a municipal one ; that such an attitude 
would better conform to our denial of the right of 
secession, or of de facto separation. He did not 
however propose to withdraw the blockading fleet; 
that would need to remain on duty as a police 
force to prevent actually the interdicted commerce. 
While there was much force in this argument as a 
theory, it had to give way to considerations of ex- 
pediency. Foreign powers almost unanimously 
protested against a change of this character. They 
seem to have based their objection chiefly upon 
the fear that what is known as a mere paper block- 
ade would be attempted in this form. Mr. Seward 
asserted our municipal right to close the ports 
equally with Mr. Welles, but thought it wiser to 
adhere to the blockade under rules of international 
law, as offering less room for misunderstandings 
with foreign nations. And the President's weU- 
considered policy from the first was, by every pru- 
dential act to avoid any pretext for intervention, 
or the dangerous complication of a foreign war. 

The Confederates resorted to a judicious and 
energetic use of the limited naval resources at their 
command. They made all haste to extemporize 
and commission privateers ; but so great was their 
lack of vessels that only one of them made any- 
thing like a successful cruise during the first year 
of the war. This was the Sumter, a screw-steamer 
of 500 tons, formerly in passenger service between 
Havana and New Orleans. Fitted out and armed 
with five guns, she succeeded in making her es- 
cape through the blockade at the mouth of the 


Mississippi, towards tlie end of June; and continued 
lier cruise, mainly in the Caribbean Sea, and along 
the South American coast, capturing and burning 
American merchantmen, until the following Jan- 
uary. A number of war ships were sent in pursuit, 
but they failed to find her tUl she sailed for Euro- 
pean waters, and entered the harbor of Cadiz for 
repairs. From there she went to Gribraltar, where, 
unable immediately to obtain coal, she was delayed 
until three United States vessels arrived and main- 
tained a watch from neighboring ports with a view 
to her capture ; and this circumstance with others 
compelled her abandonment and sale, after having 
made in all some eighteen captures, of which num- 
ber she bonded two and burned seven. 

Other privateers extemporized during the first 
year of the war, while they became a serious an- 
noyance to American commerce, generally had a 
shorter career. Of those captured only the Savan- 
nah requires special mention. She was a schooner 
of fifty-three tons burthen with one pivot gun, 
and was fitted out as a privateer at Charleston, 
from which port she sailed on her cruise on the 2d 
of June, 1861. She captured a merchant brig on 
the following day about fifty miles east of Charles- 
ton, and the same afternoon gave chase to another 
vessel, which she sjipposed would fall an easy prey. 
She soon discovered that she had made a serious 
mistake; the stranger proved to be the United 
States brig-of-war Perry, which in turn overhauled 
and captured the Savannah about nightfall. The 
privateersmen, thirteen in number, were taken off 
their vessel and sent to New- York. They were 
given in charge of the United States marshal, and 

Chap. i. 

" Cruise ot 
tie AUtr 
bama and 
Vol. I., p. 



Chap. I. 

A. F. War- 
" Trial of 
the Officers 
ajQid Crew 

of the 

Davis to 


July 6, 1861. 


placed in confinement; and on the 16tli of July 
tlie Grand Jury of the United States Circuit 
Court indicted them for the crime of robbeiy on 
the high seas. The capture of the prisoners of 
course came to the knowledge of the rebel Govern- 
ment at Eichmond, through the reports printed in 
the Northern newspapers, coupled with rumors of 
their probable trial and execution as pirates, under 
the President's proclamation. On the strength of 
these reports, Jefferson Davis, some ten days before 
the actual indictment, wrote a letter to President 
Lincoln, which he transmitted by flag of truce 
through the military lines. In this letter he gave 
notice that, as a measure of retaliation for the alleged 
treatment of the privateersmen, he had caused cer- 
tain Union prisoners taken by the rebel forces to 
be placed in strict confinement, and that the Confed- 
erate Government " will deal out to the prisoners 
held by it the same treatment and the same fate 
as shall be experienced by those captured in the 
Savannah.''^ When, a short time afterwards, the 
battle of Bull Run occurred, in which the Confed- 
erates captured a number of Union colonels and 
other officers, this intention of the Richmond au- 
thorities to make summary retaliation was further 
manifested by a rigorous treatment of the new 

President LincoLa made no reply to the letter of 
Mr. Davis. The indicted prisoners were brought 
into court, and on July 23d pleaded not guilty. 
An array of eminent counsel appeared for both 
the prosecution and the defense ; but on account 
of the Ulness of Justice Nelson of the United 
States Supreme Court, sitting with the District 


Judge, the trial was finally postponed till the third chap. i. 
Monday of October. Before that date the opera- 
tions of the war, both military and naval, were 
expanded to such a degree, and the number of 
prisoners captured, of other privateersmen, as well 
as of the land forces, had already become so con- 
siderable as to compel a radical change of practice 
in their treatment and disposition. It grew evident 
that even if the crime of piracy could be legally 
proven against these offenders, their wholesale 
punishment by execution could not be thought of, 
particularly by an Executive whose humane im- 
pulses were so active as those of President Lin- 
coln. When the Savannah prisoners were brought 
to trial in October, after long and exhaustive argu- 
ments of opposing counsel, the jury failed to agree, warburton, 
and was discharged by the court. The prisoners e™ ' 
were remanded to custody ; but in January of the 1862. 
following year negotiations were begun for a gen- 
eral exchange, and though some delay occurred, 
the arrangement was brought into effectual opera- cyciop»- 
tion in August, 1862, at which time the Savannah pp. timu. 
privateersmen, together with some seventy or 
eighty others, were exchanged; and the question 
of their legal status was not thereafter raised. 

Among the earhest needs which the actual be- 
ginning of the blockade pointed out was the pos- 
session of suitable harbors, on the coast of the 
insurrectionary States, which might be used as 
coal depots and as points of rendezvous or harbors 
of refuge for the blockading fleet. The Navy De- 
partment convened a board of competent officers 
early in July to study this problem. Meanwhile 
another opportunity for a successful naval exploit 


CHAP. I. presented itself, which was promptly taken advan- 
tage of, the success of which, amid the gloom of 
recent disasters, was hailed with eager joy by the 
people of the North. 

The sea front of the State of North Carolina has 
a double coast; and behind the outer one, which 
is a mere narrow belt of sand not more than two 
miles wide, there expand the great inland waters 
of Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. There are but 
few practicable entrances through this outer sand- 
bank or false coast ; in latter times Hatteras Inlet 
had become the most important. Here the rebels 
had built two forts and armed them with guns 
brought from the Norfolk navy yard: Fort Hat- 
teras, nearest the inlet, with fifteen guns, and Fort 
Clark, half a mile to the north, with seven guns. 
The blockading fleet soon discovered that this was 
a point of the utmost importance; that the light 
rebel privateers could lie here securely in wait for 
passing prizes, dart out and seize them, and quickly 
retire beyond pursuit ; also, that an unfrequented 
point like this offered special opportunities for the 
comparatively safe and easy entrance of blockade- 

An expedition for its captui*e was therefore or- 
ganized, as soon as the necessary vessels could be 
1861. collected in Hampton Roads. On the 26th of Au- 
gust, Flag-OflB.cer Silas H. Stringham sailed from 
Fort Monroe in command of five war steamers 
and two transports, carrying about eight hundred 
troops under command of Major-General Benjamin 
F. Butler. After a little more than a day's sail, the 
fleet appeared before Hatteras Inlet, and on the 
two days following both forts were captured by 


the attacking vessels, witli a comparatively short chap. i. 
and easy bombardment, the delay having been stringham, 
occasioned by unfavorable winds. The casualties sept^isei, 

, in " Mes- 

were sught: m the forts, twelve or fifteen were ^^^^^^ 
killed or died of wounds, and thirty-five wounded "gei-ei 
remained; on the fleet, there was not a single pp!\™8.' 
loss of life. The garrisons, comprising seven hun- ler, Report, 
dred and fifty men, were formally surrendered on mi\. e. 

August 29. pp. 681-687. 

The original design was to block up the entrance 
by sinking vessels, but upon examination both 
commanders united in the more prudent deter- 
mination to hold and utUize the place. "This strJnKiiam 
inlet," reported Stringham, "I consider the key to septl/ilei. 
all the ports south of Hatteras, and only second a^^DMu- 
in importance to Fort Monroe and Hampton Tsei-li 

■•■ -*- Part III. 

Roads." Major-Greneral John E. "Wool, who had pm. " 
been sent (August 17) to take command at Fort G6n?°soott, 
Monroe, joined in this opinion. General Butler w?r'voi: 
immediately returned to Washington to report the ' ^' 
joint victory, and upon his representations the 
President and Cabinet at once decided and ordered 
measures to hold possession of the captured forts. 
"What was still more to the point, cheering evidence 
soon came of the existence of a friendly sentiment 
among the scattered residents of Hatteras Island 
and points on the neighboring mainland. The 
officer sent to command Fort Clark, under date 
of September 11, expressed his belief in the loy- 
alty of the people on Pamlico Sound, and " that 
troops could be raised here for the purpose of sup- f^f;^^ 
pressing rebeUion in North Carolina, upon the as- ig6?.^V.^E. 
surance that they would not be called on to go out ^°^'m."^' 
of the State," which was the occasion of the fol- 



Chap. I. 

lincoln to 
Gen. Scott, 

Sept. 16, 

1861. W. E. 

Vol. IV., p. 



Thomas A. 

Scott to 


Aug. 2 and 

11, 1861. 
W. E. Vol. 
Vr., p. 168. 

lowing characteristic letter from President Lincoln 
to Greneral Scott : 

My Dear Sie: Since conversing with you I have con- 
cluded to request you to frame an order for recruiting 
North Carolinians at Port Hatteras. I suggest it to be 
so framed as for us to accept a smaller force— even a 
company — if we cannot get a regiment or more. What 
is necessary to now say about ofilcers you wUl judge. 
Governor Seward says he has a nephew (Clarence A. 
Seward, I believe) who would be willing to go and play 
colonel and assist in raising the force. Still, it is to be 
considered whether the North Carolinians will not prefer 
officers of their own. I should expect they would. 

Before the expedition against Hatteras set sail, 
preparations for another naval expedition on a 
more extended scale were under way. It will be 
remembered that the "Anaconda" plan of Greneral 
Scott contemplated that the insurgent States 
should be completely enveloped. Such a course 
necessarily comprised eventual military posses- 
sion of the entire coast line, and this was a part 
of the problem to be studied by the board of offi- 
cers who had been convened by the Navy De- 
partment on June 28. Careful reports made by 
the board on July 5 and 13 recommended that 
either Bull's Bay, Port Royal Sound, or Fernan- 
dina should be, if possible, captured and occupied, 
both to facilitate the blockade and to furnish a 
base for military operations. Accordingly, orders 
were issued on August 2 and August 11 to Briga- 
dier-Greneral Thomas W. Sherman to proceed to 
New England and recruit an expeditionary land 
force of twelve thousand men, while Captain Sam- 
uel F. Du Pont, of the navy, was instructed to 
gather a fleet of vessels at Hampton Roads to be 


used in tlie same movement. When General Sher- chap. i. 
man (who must not be confounded with Greneral 
William Tecumseh Sherman, afterwards the famous 
leader of the march to the sea) was called to Wash- 
ington, President Lincoln, in presence of the Cab- 
inet, explained to him that this expedition was 
specially favored by G-eneral Scott ; described in 
a general way its extent and purpose; directed 
that the utmost secrecy be observed, both as to its 
organization and probable point of descent; and 
expressed the wish of himself and his Cabinet that 
it should be ready to start early in September. 

Fuller consideration, however, recalled the fact 
that this was the unhealthy season, and the time 
of starting was afterwards postponed to October. isei. 
The details were settled by General Scott and a 
military council of the most experienced officers. 
Obstacles and delays arose, as a matter of course. 
Before Sherman had more than three of his twelve 
regiments in camp on Long Island, where he pro- 
posed to drill and equip them, he was summoned 
to Washington with his whole command to help 
meet the danger of a rumored movement of the 
enemy against the capital. Here the remainder of 
his force was gathered, in constant competition 
with the all-absorbing accumulation of the grand 
Army of the Potomac, and not without apprehen- 
sion that his command would be dribbled away in 
fragments to this or to some one of the many 
urgent calls for troops which beset the Ad- 
ministration from every quarter. " To guard 
against misunderstanding," wrote Lincoln to the 
Secretary of War, September 18, " I think fit to 
say that the joint expedition of the army and 


CHAP. I. navy, ... in whicli General T. W. Sherman was 

and is to bear a conspicuous part, is in no wise 

earner™? to be abandoned, but must be ready to move by 

isM^V'k the first or very early in October. Let all prepara- 

" 171.' ^' tions go forward accordingly." 

Instead of tbe first, it was the end of October 
before the expedition got off. On the 29th, a fleet 
of fifty sail, including transports, went to sea from 
Fort Monroe, the naval force under command of 
Captain Du Pont. The following day brought a 
severe storm, in which two or three transports 
with supplies were lost, and others put back for 
safety. The main fleet, however, assembled on the 
1861. 4th of November before Port Eoyal Sound, and 
on the 7th, fourteen war steamers, carrying a 
total armament of 130 guns, stood in to the 
attack of the rebel forts at the Port Royal en- 
trance. To the north, on Bay Point, stood Fort 
Beauregard, mounting twenty guns. To the south, 
on Hilton Head, stood Fort Walker, a much 
stronger work, mounting twenty-three guns. A 
broad sheet of water, two miles in width, spread 
between the two forts. Both were formidable 
earthworks, scientifically constructed, and armed 
with ordnance of no mean power. Fort Walker 
had a garrison of about 250 men, and the plan of 
attack marked this out as the principal obstacle to 

Everything being ready, and the weather fine, in 
the early forenoon of the 7th nine of the principal 
war steamers, with a total of 112 guns, formed in a 
line following each other at a distance of little 
more than a ship's length, with Du Pont leading in 
the flag-ship Wahash of forty-four guns. Moving 



slowly and taking continual soundings as they pro- 
ceeded, the line steamed by the mid-channel into the 
entrance between the two forts, firing to the right 
against Fort Beauregard in the distance, and to the 
left against Fort "Walker at close range. When the 
Wabash had passed perhaps two mUes beyond the 
forts, she made a short circuit to the south and led 
the line outward through the entrance and as near 
Fort "Walker as the depth of water permitted, the 
ships successively delivering their fire at a distance 
of six hundred yards. "When the proper point was 
reached the WabasJi again turned and led the line 
inward, repeating the circular manoeuvre. Mean- 
while a flanking column of five ships with thirty 
guns had also passed in and stationed itself at a 
convenient distance where it could at the same 
time bombard Fort "Walker and watch the little 
rebel fleet which hovered up the sound beyond 

A description of such a manoeuvre may be read 
in a minute, but it took more than an hour to ex- 
ecute each circuit of the ships. During this time 
the Confederate garrison of Fort "Walker was de- 
fending its station with courage and persistence. 
Amid shot and shell which plowed up their em- 
bankments, buried them in showers of sand, dis- 
mounted their guns, and swept off the gunners, 
they replied to the fire of the ships, though the 
damage they inflicted was trifling and mainly to 
the rigging, showing their wild aim and the dis- 
turbance and difficulty under which they fought. 
"When near one o'clock the Wabash turned and for 
the third time led the line inward past the forts 
the battle was decided. Fort "Walker gave no re- 
VoL. v.— 2 

Chap. I. 


Chap. I. sponse. Commander John Eodgers — ^who was in 
the Wabash as volunteer aide to the flag-officer, 
wrote : 

Shell feU in it, not twenty-eight in a minute, but as 
fast as a horse's feet beat the ground in a gaUop. The 
resistance was heroic — but what could flesh and blood do 
against such a fire ? . . . The Wabash was a destroying 
angel — hugging the shore; calling the soundings with 
cold indifference ; slowing the engine, so as only to give 
steerage way ; signaling to the vessels their various evo- 
lutions; and at the same time raining sheUs, as with 
target-practice, too fast to count. Commodore Du Pont 
had kindly made me his aide. I stood by him, and I did 
little things which I suppose gained me credit. So when 
a boat was sent on shore to ask whether they had surren- 
dered, I was sent. I carried the stars and stripes. I 
found the ramparts utterly desolate, and I planted the 
American flag upon those ramparts with my own hands 
— first to take possession, in the majesty of the United 
KoT. 9, 1861. States, of the rebel soil of South Carolina. The Conf ed- 
" Eebembn erate forces were in an utter panic ; they deserted every- 
voi.°in.' thing. Arms, tents, personal property were abandoned, 
mente^ and by men intent only upon safety and spurred by 
112.' ■ overwhelming fear. 

The casualties numbered: in the forts, killed 
eleven, wounded forty-eight; on the ships, killed 
eight, wounded twenty-three. Fort Beauregard 
was abandoned the same evening, and the Union 
flag was raised over it at sunrise next morning. 
Upon examination during the few days following, 
it was found that the terror and flight of the 
enemy extended to aU the adjacent islands. It 
had been intended, after the reduction and occu- 
pation of these forts, that the expedition should 
immediately proceed to the attack and capture of 
Fernandina, Florida. But the large expenditure 
of ammunition in the attack just made compelled 



the war ships to wait for a new supply; while Gen- 
eral Sherman on landing found the conquest so 
extensive as to require all his force and facilities. 
He said : 

"We had no idea, in preparing the expedition of such 
immense success. We found to our surprise that, instead 
of having difficult work to get one harbor, after due har- 
bor was obtained we had a haK a dozen important harbors 
at once. Such a panic was created among the enemy by 
the fall of Port Eoyal that they deserted the whole coast 
from the North Bdisto to Warsaw Sound. This threw 
into our possession not only the harbor of Port Royal, 
but the magnificent harbor of St. Helena, and the har- 
bors of North Edisto, South Edisto, Tybee Roads, War- 
saw Sound, and Ossabaw Sound. . . There is a network 
of waters, an inland water communication, running all 
the waj'^ from Charleston to Savannah. 

The Fernandina expedition was therefore de- 
ferred, and the army bent its energies to the erec- 
tion of suitable forts to protect the territory and 
harbors which had been gained. It was indeed a 
magnificent acquisition. Port Eoyal was the finest 
harbor on the Southern coast, deep enough for the 
largest vessels, roomy enough to hold the navies of 
the world; twenty miles from Savannah, thirty 
miles from Charleston — nearly midway between 
them. This was, if not the territorial, at least the 
agricultural heart of South Carolina ; the famous 
Sea-Island region, which grows the best cotton in 
the world; the seat of fine plantations, of aristo- 
cratic families, of idyllic Southern homes, the pride 
and the delight of a society upheld by slavery; 
hospitable mansions, embowered in gardens of 
roses, oleanders, and oranges, terminating pictur- 
esquely long and venerable live-oak avenues. Near 

Chap. i. 

Eeport of 
the Com- 
mittee on 
tlie Con- 
duct of tlie 


Chap. i. by was Beaufort, the salubrious pleasure-town of 
the wealthy planters, where the aspiring statesmen 
of South Carolina had plotted treason and rebellion 
for a generation. Instead of realizing the dreams 
of splendor and power which led them astray, this 
grim visitation of the " Lincoln gunboats " was 
their first fruit of the war they had kindled ; every 
white inhabitant in flight; every homestead de- 
serted, and the slaves wandering idly over the 
abandoned plantations, or pillaging in unrestrained 
license among the furniture, clothing, and trinkets 
which lay scattered and desecrated in the once 
proud homes of their masters. 



THE public mind would probably have dwelt chap.ii. 
with more impatience and dissatisfaction 
upon the inaction of the armies, but for an event 
which turned all thoughts with deep solicitude into 
an entirely different channel. This was what is isei. 
known as the Trent affair, which seriously threat- 
ened to embroil the nation in a war with Grreat 
Britain. The Confederate Government had ap- 
pointed two new envoys to proceed to Europe and 
renew its application for recognition, which former 
diplomatic agents had failed to obtain. For this 
duty ex-Senator James M. Mason of Virginia 
and ex-Senator John Slidell of Louisiana were 
selected, on account of their political prominence, 
' as weU as their recognized ability. On the blockade- 
runner Theodora^ they, with their secretaries and 
families, succeeded in eluding the Union cruisers 
round Charleston, and in reaching Havana, Cuba. 
Deeming themselves beyond danger of capture, they 
made no concealment of their presence or mission, 
but endeavored rather to "magnify their office." 
The British consul showed them marked attention, 
and they sought to be presented officially to the 
Captain-Greneral of Cuba ; but that wary function- 


CHAP. II. ary explained that he received them only as " dis- 
tinguished gentlemen." They took passage on board 
the British mail steamer Trent for St. Thomas, 
intending there to take the regular packet to 

Captain Charles Wilkes, commanding the United 
States war steamer San Jacinto, just returned from 
an African cruise, heard of the circumstance, and, 
going to Havana, fully informed himself of the 
details of their intended route. The Trent, he 
1861. learned, was to leave Havana on the 7th of Novem- 
ber. That day found him stationed in the old Ba- 
hama channel, near the northern coast of Cuba, 
where he had reason to believe she would pass. At 
about noon of the 8th the lookout announced the 
approach of the Trent, and when she was sufficiently 
near, the San Jacinto fired a round-shot across her 
course, and displayed the American colors. The 
British steamer did not seem disposed to accept 
the warning and failed to slacken her speed, where- 
upon Captain WUkes ordered a shell to be fired 
across her bows, which at once brought her to. 
Lieutenant D. M. Fairfax, with two officers and a 
guard of marines, left the San Jacinto and rowed 
to the mail steamer; the lieutenant mounted to 
the deck alone, leaving his officers and men in the 
boat. He was shown to the quarter-deck, where 
he met Captain Moir of the Trent, and, informing 
him who he was, asked to see his passenger-list. 
Captain Moir declined to show it. Lieutenant 
Fairfax then told him of his information that the 
rebel commissioners were on board and that he 
must satisfy himself on that point before allowing 
the steamer to proceed. The envoys and their 

THE "tEENT" affair 

secretaries came up, and, hearing their namesi 
mentioned, asked if they were wanted. Lieutenant 
Fairfax then made known in full the purport of hisl 
orders and the object of his visit, to seize the Con- 
federate officials. 

The altercation called a considerable number of 
passengers around the group. All of them mani- 
fested open secession sympathy, and some indulged 
in abusive language so loud and demonstrative that 
the lieutenant's two officers, and six or eight armed 
men from the boat, without being called, mounted 
to the lieutenant's assistance. In these unfriendly 
demonstrations the mail agent of the Trent, one 
Commander Williams, a retired British naval offi- 
cer, made himself especially conspicuous with the 
declaration that he was the "Queen's representa- 
tive," and with various threats of the consequences 
of the affair. The captain of the Trent firmly but 
quietly refused all compliance or search, and the 
envoys and their secretaries protested against 
arrest, whereupon Lieutenant Fairfax sent one of 
his officers back to the San Jacinto for additional 
force. In perhaps half an hour the second boat 
returned from the San Jacinto with some twenty- 
four additional men. Lieutenant Fairfax now 
proceeded to execute his orders without actual 
violence, and with all the politeness possible under 
the circumstances. Mason and Slidell, and their 
secretaries, foreseeing the inevitable, had retired 
to their state-rooms to pack their luggage ; thither 
it was necessary to follow them, and there the 
presence of the families of Slidell and Eustis 
created some slight confusion, and a few armed 
marines entered the cabin, but were sent back. 


Chap. II. The final act of capture and removal was then 
carried out with formal stage solemnity.^ 

Captain Wilkes's first instruction to Lieutenant 
Fairfax was to seize the Trent as a prize, but, as 
he afterwards explained: "I forebore to seize her, 
however, in consequence of my being so reduced 
in officers and crew, and the derangement it would 
cause innocent persons, there being a large num- 
ber of passengers, who would have been put to 
great loss and inconvenience as well as disappoint- 
Eeport. ment from the interruption it would have caused 
^^otthl^ them in not being able to join the steamer from 
^^Twei.^"' St. Thomas to Europe." The Trent was allowed 
to proceed on her voyage, while the San Jacinto 
steamed away for Boston, where she arrived on the 
1861. 24th of November, and transferred her prisoners to 
Fort Warren. 

The whole country rang with exultation over the 
exploit. The feeling was greatly heightened by 

1 " When the marines and some me. Calling in at last three 
armed men had been formed," officers, he also was taken in 
reports Lieutenant Fairfax, ' ' just charge and handed over to Mr. 
outside of the main deck cabin, Greer. Mr. McFarla,nd and Mr. 
where these four gentlemen had Eustis, after protesting, went 
gone to pack up their baggage, I quietly into the boat." "There 
renewed my efforts to induce was a great deal of excitement on 
them to accompany me on board, board at this time," says another 
they still refusing to accompany report, " and the officers and 
me unless force was applied. 1 passengers of the steamer were 
called in to my assistance four or addressing us by numerous op- 
five officers, and first taking hold probrious epithets, such as oall- 
of Mr. Mason's shoulder, with ing us pirates, villains, traitors, 
another officer on the opposite etc." The families of Slidell and 
side, I went as far as the gang- Eustis had meanwhile been ten- 
way of the steamer, and delivered dered the use of the cabin of the 
him over to Lieutenant Greer, to San Jacinto, if they preferred to 
be placed in the boat. I then accompany the prisoners ; but 
returned for Mr. Slidell, who in- they declined, and proceeded in 
sisted that I must apply consider- the Trent [Eeport, Secretary of 
able force to get him to go with the Navy, Dec. 2, 1861.] 


the general public indignation at the unfriendli- chap.ii. 
ness England had so far manifested to the Union 
cause; bat perhaps more especially because the 
two persons seized had been among the most bitter 
and active of the secession conspirators. The pub- 
lic press lauded Captain Wilkes, Boston gave him 
a banquet, and the Secretary of the Navy wrote 
him a letter of emphatic approval. He congratu- 
lated him "on the great public service" he had 
rendered in the capture, and expressed only the weiies, 
reservation that his conduct in omitting to cap- (Siaxy^- 
ture the vessel must not be allowed to constitute a p- '^9. ' 
precedent. When Congress met on the 2d of De- 
cember following, the House of Representatives isei. 
immediately passed a resolution, without a dis- 
senting voice, thanking Captain Wilkes for his 
"brave, adroit, and patriotic conduct"; while by 
other resolutions the President was requested to 
order the prisoners into close confinement, in re- 
taliation for similar treatment by the rebels of 
certain prisoners of war. The strong current of 
public feeling approved the act without qualifica- 
tion, and manifested an instant and united readi- 
ness to defend it. 

President Lincoln's usual cool judgment at once 
recognized the dangers and complications that 
might grow out of the occurrence. A well-known 
writer has recorded what he said in a confidential 
interview on the day the news was received : " I 
f'^ar the traitors will prove to be white elephants. 
We must stick to American principles concerning 
the rights of neutrals. We fought G-reat Britain 
for insisting, by theory and practice, on the right 
to do precisely what Captain Wilkes has done. If 



CHAP. 11. 


•' Civil War 

in tile 


Vol. 11., pp. 

156, 167. 

Great Britain shall now protest against the act, and 
demand their release, we must give them up, apolo- 
gize for the act as a violation of our doctrines, and 
thus forever bind her over to keep the peace in re- 
lation to neutrals, and so acknowledge that she has 
been wrong for sixty years." ^ 

The Cabinet generally coincided in expressing 
gratification and approval. The international ques- 
tions involved came upon them so suddenly that 
they were not ready with decided opinions concern- 
ing the law and policy of the case ; besides, the 
true course obviously was to await the action of 
Great Britain. 

The passengers on board the Trent, as well as 
the reports of her oflficers, carried the news of the 
capture directly to England, where the incident 
raised a storm of public opinion even more violent 
than that in the United States, but very naturally 
on the opposite side. The Government of England 
relied for its information mainly upon the ofl&cial 
report of the mail agent, Commander Williams, 
who had made himself so officious as the " Queen's 
representative," and who, true to the secession 
sympathies manifested by him on shipboard, gave 
his report a strong coloring of the same character. 

1 Mr. Welles, Secretary of the 
Navy, corroborated the statement 
in "The Galaxy" for May, 1873, 
p. 647: "The President, with 
whom I had an interview imme- 
diately on receiving information 
that the emissaries were cap- 
tured and on hoard the San Ja- 
cinto, before consultation with 
any other member of the Cabinet 
discussed with me some of the 
difficult points presented. His 
chief anxiety — for his attention 

had never been turned to admi- 
ralty law and naval captures — 
was as to the disposition of the 
prisoners, who, to use his own ex- 
pression, would be elephants on 
our hands that we could not eas- 
ily dispose of. Public indigna- 
tion was so overwhelming against 
the chief conspirators that he 
feared it would be difficult to 
prevent severe and exemplary 
punishment, which he always 

THE "tBENT" affair 


Englisli public feeling, popular and official, smarted 
under the idea that the United States had perpe- 
trated a gross outrage, and the clamor for instant 
redress left no room for any calm consideration of 
the far-reaching questions of international law in- 
volved. There seemed little possibility that a war 
could be avoided, and England began immediate 
preparations for such an emergency. Some eight 
thousand troops were dispatched to Canada, ships 
were ordered to join the English squadrons in 
American waters, and the usual proclamation is- 
sued prohibiting the export of arms and certain 
war supplies. 

Two days after the receipt of the news Lord 
Palmerston, in a note to the Queen, formulated the 
substance of a demand to be sent to the United 
States. He wrote, November 29, 1861 : 

The general outline and tenor which appeared to meet 
the opinions of the Cabinet would be, that the Wash- 
ington Government should be told that what has been 
done is a violation of international law and of the rights 
of Great Britain, and that your Majesty's Government 
trust that the act will be disavowed, and the prisoners 
set free and restored to British protection ; and that Lord 
Lyons should be instructed that, if this demand is re- 
fused, he should retire from the United States. 

On the following day the formal draft of the pro- 
posed dispatch to Lord Lyons was laid before the 
Queen, who, together with Prince Albert, examined 
it with unusual care. The critical character of the 
communication, and the imminent danger — the 
almost certainty — of a rupture and war veith 
America which it revealed, made a profound im- 
pression upon both. Prince Albert was already 
suffering from the illness which terminated his life 

Chap. n. 

T. Martin, 
" Life oJ: 

the Prince 

Vol. v., p. 



Chap. II. 


" life of 

the Prince 


Vol. v., p. 


two weeks afterwards. This new and grave political 
question gave him a sleepless night. "He could 
eat no breakfast," is the entry in her Majesty's 
diary, "and looked very wretched. But stUl he 
was well enough on getting up to make a draft for 
me to write to Lord Eussell, in correction of his 
draft to Lord Lyons, sent me yesterday, which 
Albert did not approve." 

The Queen returns these important drafts, which upon 
the whole, she approves ; but she cannot help feeling that 
the main draft — that for communication to the American 
Government — is somewhat meager. She should have 
liked to have seen the expression of a hope that the 
American captain did not act under instructions, or, if 
he did, that he misapprehended them — that the United 
States Government must be fully aware that the British 
Government could not allow its flag to be insulted, and 
the security of her mail communications to be placed in 
jeopardy; and her Majesty's Government are unwilling 
to believe that the United States Government intended 
wantonly to put an insult upon this country, and to add 
to their many distressing complications by forcing a ques- 
tion of dispute upon us ; and that we are therefore glad to 
believe that upon a f uU consideration of the circumstances 
of the undoubted breach of international law committed, 
they would spontaneously offer such redress as alone 
could satisfy this country, viz., the restoration of the 
unfortunate passengers and a suitable apology. 

It proved to be the last political memorandum 
he ever wrote. The exact language of his correc- 
tion, had it been sent, would not have been well 
calculated to soothe the irritated susceptibilities of 
Americans. To the charge of " violating interna- 
tional law," to which Palmerston's cold note con- 
fined itself, he added the accusation of " wanton 
insult," though disclaiming a belief that it was in- 
tended. But a kind and pacific spirit shines 

THE "teent" affair 29 

througli his memorandum as a whole, and it is chap. ii. 
evident that both the Queen and himself, grate- 
fully remembering the welcome America had lately 
accorded the Prince of Wales, shrank from the 
prospect of an angry war. In this the Queen un- 
consciously responded to the impulse of amity and 
good- will which had induced the President to mod- 
ify so materially his foreign secretary's dispatch 
of the 21st of May, the unpremeditated thought of isei. 
the ruler, in each case, being at once wiser and 
more humane than the first intention of the diplo- 
matists. It was from the intention rather than the 
words of the Prince that the Queen's ministers took 
their cue and modified the phraseology into more 
temperate shape. Earl Russell wrote : 

Her Majesty's Government, bearing in mind the friend- 
ly relations which have long subsisted between Great 
Britain and the United States, are willing to believe that 
the United States naval officer who committed this ag- 
gression was not acting in compliance with any author- 
ity from his Government, or that, if he conceived himself 
to be so authorized, he greatly misunderstood the instruc- 
tions he had received. For the Government of the United 
States must be fully aware that the British Government 
could not allow such an affront to the national honor to 
pass without full reparation, and her Majesty's Govern- 
ment are unwilling to believe that it could be the deliber- 
ate intention of the Government of the United States 
unnecessarily to force into discussion between the two 
Governments a question of so grave a character, and 
with regard to which the whole British nation would be 
sure to entertain such unanimity of feeling. Her Majes- 
ty's Government, therefore, trust that when this matter 
shall have been brought under the consideration of the 
Government of the United States, that Government will 
of its own accord offer to the British Government such 
redress as alone would satisfy the British nation, namely. 



Chap. n. 

the liberation of the four gentlemen and their delivery to 
your Lordship, in order that they may again be placed 
se^io iTrd iii<ier British protection, and a suitable apology for the 
H^°?i?,"^- aggression which has been committed. Should these 
terms not be offered by Mr. Seward, you will propose 

30, 1861. 

Book." them to him. 


in No. «, 


" Blue 


In the private note accompanying this formal 
dispatch further instruction was given, that IE the 
demand were not substantially complied with in 
seven days, Lord Lyons should break off diplo- 
matic relations and return with his whole legation 
to London. Yet at the last moment Lord Russell 
himself seems to have become impressed with the 
browbeating precipitancy of the whole proceeding, 
for he added another private note, better calculated 
than even the Queen's modification to soften the 
disagreeable announcement to the American Gov- 
ernment. He wrote to Lord Lyons : 

My wish would be that at your first interview with Mr. 
Seward you should not take my dispatch with you, but 
should prepare him for it and ask him to settle it with 
the President and the Cabinet what course they will pro- 
pose. The next time you should bring my dispatch and 
read it to him fully. If he asks what will be the con- 
sequence of his refusing compliance, I think you should 
say that you wish to leave him and the President quite 
free to take their own course, and that you desire to 
abstain from anything like menace. 

This last diplomatic touch reveals that the Min- 
istry, like the Queen, shrank from war, but that it 
desired to reap all the advantages of a public men- 
ace, even while privately disclaiming one. The 
British demand reached Washington on the 19th 
of December. It happened, fortunately, that Lord 
Lyons and Mr. Seward were on excellent terms of 


personal friendship, and the British envoy was chap.ii. 
therefore able to present the affair with all the 
delicacy which had been suggested by Lord Rus- 
sell. The Government at Washington had care- 
fully abstained from any action other than that 
already mentioned. Lord Lyons wrote : 

Mr. Seward received my communication seriously and 
with dignity, but without any manifestation of dissatis- 
faction. Some further conversation ensued in conse- 
quence of questions put by him with a view to ascertain 
the exact character of the dispatch. At the conclusion Lyons to 
he asked me to give him to-morrow to consider the ques- Deo'^ilfisei. 
tion and to communicate with the President. 

Another dispatch from Lord Lyons shows that 
Mr. Seward asked a further delay, and that Lord j^j^ 
Russell's communication was not formally read to ° British^' 
him till Monday, the 23d of December. If we may Book/' 
credit the statement of Secretary Welles, Mr. 
Seward had not expected so serious a view of 
the affair by the British Government; and his 
own language implies as much when, in a private 
letter some months afterward, he mentions Lord 
Lyons's communication as "our first knowledge 
that the British Government proposed to make it 
a question of offense or insult, and so of war," add- 
ing: "If I had been as tame as you think would gewardto 
have been wise in my treatment of affairs with that 7,^862! "The 
country, I should have no standing in my own." Aug., isto. 
But while Mr. Seward, like most other Americans, 
was doubtless elated by the first news that the 
rebel envoys were captured, he readily discerned 
that the incident was one of great diplomatic 
gravity and likely to be fruitful of prolonged dip- 
lomatic contention. Evidently in this spirit, and 



Chap. II. 


State De- 


for the purpose of reserving to the United States 
every advantage in the serious discussion which 
was unavoidable, he prudently wrote in a confi- 
dential dispatch to Mr. Adams, on November 27 : 
" I forbear from speaking of the capture of Messrs. 
Mason and Slidell. The act was done by Commo- 
dore Wilkes without instructions, and even with- 
out the knowledge of the Government. Lord Lyons 
has judiciously refrained from aU communication 
with me on the subject, and I thought it equally 
wise to reserve ourselves until we hear what the Brit- 
ish Grovernment may have to say on the subject." 

Of the confidential first interviews between the 
Secretary of State and the President on this impor- 
tant topic there is no record. From what remains 
we may easily infer that the President clearly saw 
the inevitable necessities surrounding the question, 
and was anxiously searching some method of secur- 
ing for the United States whatever of indirect 
advantage might accrue from compliance with the 
British demand, and of making that compliance as 
palatable as might be to American public opinion. 
In this spirit we may presume he wrote the follow- 
ing experimental draft of a dispatch, preserved in 
his autograph manuscript. Its chief proposal is to 
arbitrate the difficulty, or in the alternative seri- 
ously to examine the question in all its aspects, 
and out of them to formulate a binding rule for 
both nations to govern similar cases. It was an 
honest and practical suggestion to turn an acci- 
dental quarrel into a great and durable transaction 
for the betterment of international law. 

The dispatch of her Majesty's Secretary for Foreign 
Affairs, dated the 30th of November, 1861, and of which 



THE "tkent" affair 33 

your Lordship kindly furnished me a copy, has been chap. ii. 
carefully considered by the President ; and he directs me 
to say that if there existed no fact or facts pertinent to 
the case, beyond those stated in said dispatch, the rep- 
aration sought by Great Britain from the United States 
would be justly due, and should be promptly made. The 
President is unwilling to believe that her Majesty's Gov- 
ernment will press for a categorical answer upon what 
appears to him to be only a partial record, in the making 
up of which he has been allowed no part. He is reluc- 
tant to volunteer his view of the case, with no assurance 
that her Majesty's Government will consent to hear him; 
yet this much he directs me to say, that this Government 
has intended no affront to the British flag, or to the 
British nation ; nor has it intended to force into discus- 
sion an embarrassing question, all which is evident by 
the fact hereby asserted, that the act complained of was 
done by the oflcer without orders from, or expectation 
of, the Government. But being done, it was no longer 
left to us to consider whether we might not, to avoid 
a controversy, waive an unimportant though a strict 
right; because we too, as well as Great Britain, have a 
people justly jealous of their rights, and in whose pres- 
ence our Government could undo the act complained of 
only upon a fair showing that it was wrong, or at least 
very questionable. The United States Government and 
people are stiU willing to make reparation upon such 

Accordingly I am instructed by the President to in- 
quire whether her Majesty's Government will hear the 
United States upon the matter in question. The Presi- 
dent desires, among other things, to bring into view, and 
have considered, the existing rebellion in the United 
States ; the position Great Britain has assumed, includ- 
ing her Majesty's proclamation in relation thereto ; the 
relation the persons whose seizure is the subject of com- 
plaint bore to the United States, and the object of their 
voyage at the time they were seized ; the knowledge 
which the master of the Trent had of their relation to the 
United States, and of the object of their voyage, at the 
time he received them on board for the voyage ; the place 
of the seizure; and the precedents and respective posi- 

VoL. v.— 3 


Chap. II. tions assumed, in analogous cases, between Great Britain 
and the United States. 

Upon a submission containing the foregoing facts, 
with those set forth in the before-mentioned dispatch to 
your Lordship, together with all other facts which either 
party may deem material, I am instructed to say, the 
Government of the United States will, if agreed to by her 
Majesty's Government, go to .such friendly arbitration as 
is usual among nations, and will abide the award. 

Or, in the alternative, her Majesty's Government may, 
upon the same record, determine whether any, and if any, 
what, reparation is due from the United States ; provided 
no such reparation shall be dififerent in character from, 
nor transcend, that proposed by your Lordship, as in- 
structed in and by the dispatch aforesaid ; and provided 
further, that the determination thus made shall be the 

Lincoln ^^^ ^^^ ^^ future analogous cases between Great Britain 
MS. ' and the United States. 

We may suppose that upon consultation with 
Mr. Seward, Mr. Lincoln decided that, desirable as 
this proceeding might be, it was precluded by the 
impatient, inflexible terms of the British demand. 
Only three days of the seven-days' grace remained; 
if they should not by the coming Thursday agree 
to deliver Mason and Slidell, the British legation 
would close its doors, and the consternation of a 
double war would fill the air. It is probable, there- 
fore, that, even while writing this draft, Lincoln 
had intimated to his Secretary of State the need of 
finding good diplomatic reasons for surrendering 
the prisoners. 

A note of Mr. Seward shows us that the Cabinet 

meeting to consider finally the Trent question was 

1861. appointed for Tuesday morning, December 24; 

but the Secretary says that, availing himself of 

the President's permission, he had postponed it to 



Wednesday morning, at 10 a. m., adding, " I stall 
then be ready." It is probably true, as lie after- 
wards wrote,^ that the whole framing of his dispatch 
was left to his own ingenuity and judgment, and 
that neither the President nor any member of the 
Cabinet had arrived at any final determination. 
The private diary of Attorney-General Bates sup- 
plies us some additional details : " Cabinet council 
at 10 A. M., December 25, to consider the relations 
with England on Lord Lyons's demand of the sur- 
render of Mason and Slidell ; a long and interest- 
ing session, lasting till 2 p. m. The instructions of 
the British minister to Lord Lyons were read. . . 
There was read a draft of answer by the Secretary 
of State." 

The President's experimental draft quoted above 
was not read; there is no mention of either the 
reading or the points it raised. The whole discus- 
sion appears to have been confined to Seward's 
paper. There was some desultory talk, a general 
comparing of rumors and outside information, a 
reading of the few letters which had been received 
from Europe. Mr. Sumner, chairman of the Senate 
Committee on Foreign Eelations, was invited in, 
and read letters he had received from John Bright 
and Eichard Cobden, Liberal members of the British 
Parliament and devoted friends of the Union. 

Chap. II. 


i"The consideration of the 
Trent case was crowded out by- 
pressing domestic affairs until 
Christmas Day. It was consid- 
ered on my presentation of it on 
the 25th and 26th of December. 
The Government, when it took 
the subject up, had no idea of 
the grounds upon which it would 

explain its action, nor did it 
believe that it would concede 
the case. Yet it was heartily 
unanimous in the actual result 
after two days' examination, and 
in favor of the release. Eemem- 
ber that in a council like ours 
there are some strong wills to be 

Seward to 
Weed, Jan. 
22,1862. T. 
W. Barnes, 
" Memoir 
oi Thurlow 
Weed." Vol. 
II., p. 409. 



Chap. II. 

Diary. MS. 

During the session also there was handed in and 
read the dispatch just received from his Govern- 
ment by M. Mercier, the French minister, and 
which, in substance, took the English view of the 
matter. The diary continues : 

Mr. Seward's draft of letter to Lord Lyons was sub- 
mitted by him, and examined and criticized by us with 
apparently perfect candor and frankness. All of us were 
impressed with the magnitude of the subject, and believed 
that upon our decision depended the dearest interest, 
probably the existence, of the nation. I, waiving the 
question of legal right, — upon which all Europe is against 
us, and also many of our own best jurists, — urged the 
necessity of the case ; that to go to war with England now 
is to abandon all hope of suppressing the rebellion, as we 
have not the possession of the land, nor any support of 
the people of the South. The maritime superiority of 
Britain would sweep us from all the Southern waters. 
Our trade would be utterly ruined, and our treasury 
bankrupt; in short, that we must not have war with 

There was great reluctance on the part of some of the 
members of the Cabinet — and even the President himself 
— to acknowledge these obvious truths ; but all yielded 
to, and unanimously concurred in, Mr. Seward's letter to 
Lord Lyons, after some verbal and formal amendments. 
The main fear, I believe, was the displeasure of our own 
people — lest they should accuse us of timidly truckling 
to the power of England.^ 

The published extracts from the diary of Secre- 
tary Chase give, somewhat fully, his opinion on the 
occasion : 

Mi\ Chase thought it certainly was not too much to 
expect of a friendly nation, and especially of a nation of 
the same blood, religion, and characteristic civilization 

1 For permission to examine the authors are indebted to the 
and quote from the manuscript courtesy of his son, Richard 
diary of Attorney-General Bates, Bates. 


as our own, that in consideration of the great rights she chap. ii. 
would overlook the little wrong ; nor could he then per- 
suade himself that, were aU the circumstances known to 
the English Government as to ours, the surrender of the 
rebel commissioners would be insisted upon. The Secre- 
tary asserted that the technical right was undoubtedly 
with England. . . Were the circumstances reversed, our 
Government would, Mr. Chase thought, accept the ex- 
planation, and let England keep'her rebels ; and he could 
not divest himself of the belief that, were the case fairly 
understood, the British Government would do likewise. 
"But," continued Secretary Chase, ''we cannot afford 
delays. While the matter hangs in uncertainty the pub- 
lic mind will remain disquieted, our commerce will suffer 
serious harm, our action against the rebels must be greatly 
hindered, and the restoration of our prosperity — largely 
identified with that of all nations — must be delayed. 
Better, then, to make now the sacrifice of feeling involved 
in the surrender of these rebels, than even avoid it by the 
delays which explanations must occasion. I give my 
adhesion, therefore, to the conclusion at which the Secre- 
tary of State has arrived. It is gall and wormwood to 
me. Rather than consent to the liberation of these men, 
I would sacrifice everything I possess. But I am consoled 
by the refiection that, whUe nothing but severest retribu- 
tion is due to them, the surrender under existing cir- 
cumstances is but simply doing right — simply proving 
faithful to our own ideas and traditions under strong 
temptations to violate them — simply giving to England 
and the world the most signal proof that the American j, „ ,y . 
nation will not under any circumstances, for the sake of den, '" Life 
inflicting just punishment on rebels, commit- even a tech- pp. 393,394. 
nical wrong against neutrals." 

In these two recorded opinions are reflected the 
substantial tone and temper of the Cabinet discus- 
sion, which ended, as both Mr. Bates and Mr. 
Seward have stated, in a unanimous concurrence 
in the letter of reply as drawn iip by the Secretary 
of State. That long and remarkably able docu- 


CHAP. II. ment must be read in full, both to understand the 
wide range of the subject which he treated and the 
clearness and force of his language and argument. 
It constitutes one of his chief literary triumphs. 
There is room here only to indicate the conclusions 
arrived at in his examination. First, he held that 
the four persons seized and their dispatches were 
contraband of war; second, that Captain Wilkes 
had a right by the law of nations to detain and 
search the Trent; third, that he exercised the right 
in a lawful and proper manner ; fourth, that he had 
a right to capture the contraband found. The real 
issue of the case centered in the fifth question: "Did 
Captain Wilkes exercise the right of capturing the 
contraband in conformity with the law of nations ? " 
Eeciting the deficiency of recognized rules on this 
point, Mr. Seward held that only by taking the 
vessel before a prize court could the existence of 
contraband be lawfully established ; and that Cap- 
tain Wilkes having released the vessel from capture, 
the necessary judicial examination was prevented, 
and the capture left unfinished or abandoned. 
Mr. Seward's dispatch continued : 

I trust that I have shown to the satisfaction of the 
British Government, by a very simple and natural state- 
ment of the facts and analysis of the law applicable to 
them, that this Government has neither meditated, nor 
practised, nor approved any deliberate wrong in the 
transaction to which they have called its attention, and, 
on the contrary, that what has happened has been simply 
an inadvertency, consisting in a departure by the naval 
officer, free from any wrongful motive, from a rule uncer- 
tainly established, and probably by the several parties 
concerned either imperfectly understood or entirely un- 
known. For this error the British Government has a 
right to expect the same reparation that we, as an inde- 

THE "tKBNT" affair 


Seward to 

Deo. 26,1861. 

pendent State, should expect from Great Britain or from Chap. ii. 
any other friendly nation in a similar case. . . If I 
decide this case in favor of my own Government I must 
disavow its most cherished principles, and reverse and 
forever abandon its essential policy. The country cannot 
afford the sacrifice. If I maintain those principles and 
adhere to that policy, I must surrender the case itself. . . 
The four persons in question are now held in miUtary 
custody at Port Warren, in the State of Massachusetts. 
They will be cheerfully liberated. 

With the formal delivery of Mason and SlideU 
and their secretaries to the custody of the British 
minister, the diplomatic incident was completed 
on the part of the United States. Lord Eussell, on 
his part, while announcing that her Majesty's Q-ov- 
emment differed from Mr. Seward in some of the 
conclusions at which he had arrived,^ nevertheless 

1 In a dispatch to Lord Lyous of 
Jan. 23, 1862, in which he dis- 
cussed the questions at some 
length, Lord Eussell held: first, 
that Mason and Slidell and their 
supposed dispatches, under the 
circumstances of their seizure, 
were not contraband; secondly, 
that the bringing of the Trent 
before a prize court, though it 
would alter the character, would 
not diminish the offense against 
the law of nations. It is some- 
what interesting to read in this 
connection the following passage 
in the recently published "Life 
of Lord John Russell," by Spencer 
Walpole, which states that the 
aSvice given by the law officers of 
tie British Crown was in almost 
exact conformity with the posi- 
tions taken by Mr. Seward: 

"The Confederate States ap- 
pointed two gentlemen, Messrs. 
Mason and Slidell, to proceed to 
Europe, accredited to the English 

and French Governments respec- 
tively. These gentlemen em- 
barked at Charleston on the 
Nashville, succeeded in running 
the blockade, and landed in Cuba. 
It was correctly assumed that 
they would embark at Havana 
on the Trent, a West Indian mail 
steamer, and travel in her to 
Europe ; it was believed that the 
Government of the United States 
had issued orders for intercepting 
the Trent and for capturing the 
envoys ; and it was noticed that 
a Federal man-of-war had arrived 
at Falmouth, and after coaling 
had proceeded to Southampton. 
Lord Eussell laid these facts be- 
fore the law officers ; and was 
advised that a United States 
man-of-war, falling in with a 
British mail steamer, would have 
the right to board her, open her 
mail bags, examine their contents, 
and, if the steamer should prove 
liable to confiscation for carrying 





to Lyons, 

Jan. 10, 1862. 

acknowledged that the action of the American 
Government constituted "the reparation which 
her Majesty and the British nation had a right to 
expect." It is not too much to say that not merely 
the rulers and Cabinets of both nations, but also 
those of all the great European powers, were re- 
heved from an oppressive apprehension by this 
termination of the affair. 

If from one point of view the United States 
suffered a certain diplomatic defeat and humilia- 
tion, it became, in another light, a real international 
victory. The turn of affairs placed not only Eng- 
land, but France and other nations, distinctly on 
their good behavior. In the face of this American 
example of moderation they could no longer so 
openly brave the liberal sentiment of their own 
people by the countenance they had hitherto given 
the rebellion. So far from improving or enhancing 
the hostile mission of Mason and SlideU, the adven- 
ture they had undergone served to diminish their 
importance and circumscribe their influence. The 
very act of their liberation compelled the British 
authorities sharply to define the hoUow pretense 
under which they were sent. In his instructions 
to the British Grovernment vessel which received 
them at Provincetown and conveyed them to Eng- 
land, Lord Lyons wrote: "It is hardly necessary 

" Life of 

Lord John 

Vol. IL, pp. 
344, 346. 

dispatches from the enemy, put a 
prize crew on board and carry 
her to a port of the United States 
for adjudication. In that ease the 
law officers thought she might, 
and in their opinion she ought 
to, disembark the passengers on 
the mail steamer at some con- 
venient port. But they added, 
' she would have no right to re- 

move Messrs. Mason and SUdell, 
and carry them oflE as prisoners, 
leaving the ship to pursue her 
voyage.' A few days before the 
law officers gave this opinion the 
San Jaointo, an American war 
steamer, intercepted the Trent 
and did the very thing which the 
law officers had advised she had 
no right to do." 


that I should remind you that these gentlemen chap. n. 
have no official character. It will be right for you , 

^ •' Lyons to 

to receive them with all courtesy and respect, as er Hewew' 
private gentlemen of distinction ; but it would be ■^'British ^" 
very improper to pay to them any of those honors boo™- 
which are paid to official persons." 

The same result in a larger degree awaited their 
advent in Europe. Under the intense publicity of 
which they had been the subject, officials of all 
degrees were in a measure compelled to avoid them 
as political " suspects." Mason was received in 
England with cold and studied neglect ; while 
Slidell, in France, though privately encouraged by 
the Emperor Napoleon III., finally found himself 
a victim, instead of a beneficiary, of his selfish 



CHAP. Ill TN tlie State of Kentucky the long game of po- 
I litical intrigue came to an end as the autumn 
of 1861 approached. By a change almost as sud- 
den as a stage transformation-scene, the beginning 
of September brought a general military activity 
and a state of qualified civil war. This change grew 
naturally out of the military condition, which was 
no longer compatible with the uncertain and ex- 
pectant attitude the State had hitherto maintained. 
The notes of preparation for Fremont's campaign 
down the Mississippi could not be ignored. Cairo 
had become a great military post, giving the Fed- 
eral forces who held it a strategical advantage both 
for defense and offense, against which the Con- 
federates had no corresponding foothold on the 
great river. The first defensive work of the latter 
was Fort Pillow, 215 miles below, armed with only 
twelve 32-pounders. To oppose a more, formidable 
resistance to Fremont's descent was of vital im- 
portance, which General Polk's West Point educa- 
tion enabled him to realize. But the Mississippi, 
with its generally level banks, afforded relatively 
few points capable of effective defense. The one 
most favorable to the Confederate needs was at 


Jolumbus, in the State of Kentucky, eighteen miles chap. m. 
lelow Cairo, on a high blnff commanding the river 
or about five miles. Both the Union and Con- 
Bderate commanders coveted this position, for its 
.atural advantages were such that when fully 
ortified it became familiarly known as the " Grib- 
altar of the West." So far, through the neutrality 
loliey of Kentucky, it had remained unappropri- 
ted by either side. On the first day of September, 
J-eneral Polk, the rebel commander at Memphis, 
ent a messenger to Grovernor Magoffin to obtain 
onfidential information about the "future plans 
nd policy of the Southern party in Kentucky," po^^ 
xplaining his desire to " be ahead of the enemy in s^t^Msei. 
ccupying Columbus and Paducah." Buckner was nr.fp. vt 
a. Richmond, proposing to the Confederate authori- 

. . Cooper to 

les certam military movements in Kentucky, " in p^l'^ana 
dvance of the action of her Grovernor." On Sep- lepJ!i°wM. 
Bmber 3d they promised him, as definitely as they Tv.f p. So!' 
ould, countenance and assistance in his scheme; 
nd soon after he accepted a brigadier-general's 
ommission from Jefferson Davis. Before his 
Bturn to the West, Greneral Polk had initiated 
h.e rebel invasion of Kentucky. Whether upon 
if ormation from Governor Magoffin or elsewhere, 
'oik ordered Greneral Gideon J. Pillow with his 
etachment of six thousand men, which the aban- poikto 
oned Missouri campaign left idle, to cross the septMsei. 
Lver from New Madrid, and occupy the town of iv.,p.i8o.' 

The Confederate movement created a flurry in 
eutrality circles. Numerous protests went both 
) Polk and the Richmond authorities, and Gov- 
mor Harris hastened to assure Governor Magoffin 



Chap. III. 

Harris to 

Sept. 4, 1861. 
Vf. R. Vol. 
IV., pp. 188, 

Walker to 
Polk, Sept. 

i, 1861. 
W. K. Vol. 
IV., p. 180. 

DaTls to 
Polk, Sept. 

i, 1861. 
W. E. Vol. 
IV., p. 181. 

Polk to 


Sept. 14, 

1861. W. k 

Vol. IV., p. 


Davis to 
Polk, Sept. 

16, 1861. 
W. E. Vol. 
IV., p. 188. 

Davis to 
Sept. 13, 
1861. W. E. 
Vol. IV., 
p. 190. 

Polk to 



W. E. Vol. 

III., p. 688. 

that he was in entire ignorance of it, and had ap- 
pealed to Jefferson Davis to order the troops with- 
drawn. Even the rebel Secretary of War was 
mystified by the report, and directed Polk to order 
the troops withdrawn from Kentucky. Jefferson 
Davis, however, either with prior knowledge, or 
with a truer instinct, telegraphed to Polk : " The 
necessity justifies the action." In his letter to 
Davis, Q-eneral Polk strongly argued the propriety 
of his course. " I believe, if we could have found a 
respectable pretext, it would have been better to 
have seized this place some months ago, as I am 
convinced we had more friends then in Kentucky 
than we have had since, and every hour's delay 
made against us. Kentucky was fast melting away 
under the influence of the Lincoln Grovernment." 
He had little need to urge this view. Jefferson Davis 
wrote him : " We cannot permit the indeterminate 
quantities, the political elements, to control our 
action in cases of military necessity"; and to 
Governor Harris, " Security to Tennessee and other 
parts of the Confederacy is the primary object. 
To this all else must give way." Further to 
strengthen and consolidate the important military 
enterprises thus begun, Jefferson Davis now 
adopted a recommendation of Polk, that "they 
should be combined from West to East across the 
Mississippi Valley, and placed under the direction 
of one head, and that head should have large dis- 
cretionary powers. Such a position is one of very 
great responsibility, involving and requiring large 
experience and extensive military knowledge, and 
I know of no one so well equal to that task as our 
friend G-eneral Albert S. Johnston." Johnston, with 


the rank of general, was duly assigned on Sep- chap. m. 
tember 10 to the command of Department No. 
Two, covering in general the States of Tennessee, ^p.^';*^^ 
Arkansas, part of Mississippi, Kentucky, Missouri, iseiTV^R. 
Kansas, and the Indian Territory. Proceeding ^p!^!' 
at once to Nashville, and conferring with the local 
authorities, Johnston wrote back to Richmond 
under date of September 16th : " So far from 
yielding to the demand for the withdrawal of our 
troops, I have determined to occupy Bowling Green 
at once. . . I design to-morrow (which is the 
earliest practicable moment) to take possession of 
Bowling Green with five thousand troops, and pre- 
pare to support the movement with such force as to m-ris" 
circumstances may indicate and the means at woi.^V.'^r. 
my command may allow." The movement was pp.^ids, ik. 
promptly carried out. Buckner was put in com- 
mand of the expedition, and, seizing several rail- 
road trains, he moved forward to Bowling Green 
on the morning of the 18th, having sent ahead five 
hundred men to occupy Munfordville, and issuing ^"c^p^,*" 
the usual proclamation that his invasion was a iseiT w.^'e. 
measure of defense. Meanwhile the third column pp.*4i3, Hi. 
of invaders entered Eastern Kentucky through 
Cumberland Gap. Brigadier-General ZoUicoffer 
had eight or ten thousand men under his com- 
mand in Eastern Tennessee, but much scattered 
and badly armed and supplied. By his active 
supervision he somewhat improved the organiza- 
tion of his forces, and acquainted himself with the 
intricate topography of the mountain region he 
was in during the month of August. Prompted 
probably from Kentucky, he was ready early in 
September to join in the combined movement into 


Chap. III. that State. About the 10th he advanced through 
Cumberland Gap with six regiments to Cumber- 
land Ford, and began planning further aggressive 
movements against the small Uuion force, prin- 
cipally Home Gruards, which had been collected 
and organized at Camp Dick Eobinson. 

The strong Union Legislature which Kentucky 
elected in August met in Frankfort, the capital, 
on the 2d of September. Polk, having securely es- 
tablished himseH at Columbus, notified the Gov- 
ernor of his presence, and offered as his only 
excuse the alleged intention of the Federal troops 
to occupy it. The Legislature, not deeming the 
excuse sufficient, passed a joint resolution in- 
structing the Governor "to inform those con- 
cerned that Kentucky expects the Confederate or 
Tennessee troops to be withdrawn from her soil 
iv.fp.m unconditionally." The Governor vetoed the reso- 
lution on the ground that it did not also embrace 
the Union troops, but the Legislature passed it 
Sept. 13, over his veto. Governor Magoffin now issued his 

Ibid., p.' 287. proclamation as directed. Polk and Jefferson Davis 
replied that the Confederate army would withdraw 
if the Union army would do the same. To this the 
Legislature responded with another joint resolu- 
tion, that the conditions prescribed were an insult 
to the dignity of the State, " to which Kentucky 
cannot listen without dishonor," and " that the in- 
vaders must be expelled." The resolution further 
required General Robert Anderson to take instant 
command, with authority to call out a volunteer 
Sept. 20, force, in all of which the Governor was required to 

m<3.,p."288. lend his aid. Kentucky was thus officially taken 
out of her false attitude of neutrality, and placed 


in active cooperation with, the Federal Govern- chap. m. 
ment to maintain the Union. Every day increased 
the strength and zeal of her assistance. A little 
later in the session a law was enacted, declaring 
enlistments under the Confederate flag a misde- 
meanor, and the invasion of Kentucky by Confed- 
erate soldiers a felony, and prescribing heavy 
penalties for both. Finally, the Legislature au- 
thorized the enlistment of forty thousand volun- 
teers to " repel invasion," providing also that they 
should be mustered into the service of the United "session 
States and cooperate with the armies of the Union, '''^u^it™' 
This was a complete revolution from the anti- 
coercion resolutions the previous Legislature had 
passed in January. 

Hitherto, there were no Federal forces in Ken- 
tucky except the brigade which Lieutenant Nelson 
had organized at Camp Dick Robinson ; the Home 
Guards in various counties, though supplied with 
arms by the Federal Government, were acting 
under State militia laws. General Anderson, com- 
manding the military department which embraced 
Kentucky, still kept his headquarters at Cincin- 
nati, and Lovell H. Rousseau, a prominent Ken- 
tuckian, engaged in organizing a brigade of 
Kentuckians, had purposely made his camp on 
the Indiana side of the Ohio River. Neverthe- 
less, President Lincoln, the Governors of Ohio and 
Indiana, and the various military commanders, 
had for months been ready to go to the assistance 
of the Kentucky Unionists whenever the necessity 
should arise. Even if the neutral attitude of Ken- 
tucky had not been brought to an end by the ad- 
vance of the Confederate forces, it would have 


CHAP. in. been by that of the Federals. A point had been 
reached where further inaction was impossible. 
Three days before General Pillow occupied Hick- 
man, Fremont sent General Grant to Southeastern 
Missouri to concentrate the several Federal detach- 
ments, drive out the enemy, and destroy a rumored 
rebel battery at Belmont. His order says finally : 
toGra™! "It is intended, in connection with all these move- 
i8fi^^\v\. ments, to occupy Columbus, Kentucky, as soon as 
^p!'u"" possible." It was in executing a part of this order 
that the gunboats sent to Belmont extended their 
Eodgersto reconuaissance down the river and discovered the 
sfptTi86i. advance of the Confederates on the Kentucky 
iri.,p.i52: shore. An unexpected delay in the movement of 
one of Grant's detachments occurred at the same 
time; and that commander, with military intuition, 
postponed the continuance of the local operations 
in Missouri, and instead prepared an expedition 
into Kentucky, which became the initial step of 
his brilliant and fruitful campaign in that direction 
a few months later. He saw that Columbus, his 
primary objective point, was lost for the present ; 
but he also perceived that another, of perhaps equal 
strategical value, yet lay within his grasp, though, 
clearly, there was no time to be wasted in seizing 
it. The gunboat reconnaissance on the Mississippi 
Eiver which revealed the rebel occupation of Ken- 
tucky was begun on September 4th. On the fol- 
lowing day General Grant, having telegraphed the 
information to Fremont and to the Kentucky 
Legislature, hurriedly organized an expedition of 
two gunboats, eighteen hundred men, sixteen can- 
non for batteries, and a supply of provisions and 
ammunition on transports. Taking personal com- 




mand, lie started witli tlie expedition from Cairo, chap. m. 
at midniglit of the 5tli, and proceeded np the Ohio 
River to the town of Paducah, at the mouth of the 
Tennessee, where he arrived on the morning of 
the 6th. A contraband trade with the rebels, by 
means of small steamboats plying on the Ten- 
nessee and Cumberland rivers, had called special 
attention to the easy communication between this 
point and Central Tennessee. He landed without 
opposition and took possession, making arrange- 
ments to fortify and permanently hold the place ; 
having done which he returned to Cairo the same 
afternoon to report his advance and forward reen- 
forcements. The importance of the seizure was 
appreciated by the rebels, for on the 13th of Sep- to cooper, 
tember Buckner wrote to Richmond: "Our pos- ^Tsh"' 
session of Columbus is already neutralized by that iv.,p. m' 
of Paducah." 

The culmination of affairs in Kentucky had been 
carefuEy watched by the authorities in "Washing- 
ton. From a conference with President Lincoln, 
Anderson returned on September 1st to Cincinnati 
taking with him two subordinates of exceptional 
ability, Brigadier-Grenerals W. T. Sherman and 
George H. Thomas, both destined to great useful- 
ness and fame. A delegation of prominent Ken- 
tuckians met him to set forth the critical condition 
of their State. He dispatched Sherman to solicit 
help from Fremont and the Governors of Indiana 
and Illinois, and a week later moved his head- 
quarters to Louisville, also sending Thomas to 
Camp Dick Robinson to take direction of affairs 
in that quarter. By the time Sherman returned 
from his mission the crisis had developed itself. 

Vol. v.— 4 


CHAP. m. The appearance of Polk's forces at Columbus, the 
action of the Legislature, the occupation of Padu- 
cah by G-rant, and the threatening rumors from 
Buckner's camp created a high degree of excite- 
ment and apprehension. On the 16th of September 
Anderson reported Zollicoffer's invasion through 
Cumberland Gap, upon which the President tele- 
graphed him to assume active command in Ken- 
tucky at once. Added to this, there came to 
Louisville on the 18th the positive news of Buck- 
ner's advance to Bowling Green. This informa- 
tion set all Central Kentucky in a military ferment; 
for the -widely published announcement that the 
State Guards, Buckner's secession militia, would 
meet at Lexington, on September 20, to have a 
camp drill under supervision of Breckinridge, 
Humphrey Marshall, and other leaders, seemed 
too plainly coincident with the triple invasion to 
be designed for a mere holiday. A rising at Lex- 
ington and a junction with ZolUcoffer might end 
in a march upon Frankfort, the capital, to disperse 
the Legislature ; a simultaneous advance by Buck- 
ner in force, and the capture of Louisville would, 
in a brief campaign, complete the subjugation of 
Kentucky to the rebellion. There remains no rec- 
ord to show whether or not such a plan was 
among the movements "in advance of the Gov- 
ernor's action," which Buckner discussed with Jeff- 
erson Davis on September 3, at Richmond. The 
bare possibility roused the Unionists of Kentucky 
to vigorous action. With an evident distrust of 
Governor Magoffin a caucus of the Union mem- 
bers of the Legislature assumed quasi executive 
authority, and, through the presiding officers of the 


two Houses, requested General Thomas, at Camp chap. m. 
Dick Robinson, to send a regiment, " fully pre- w. e. 
pared for a fight," to Lexington in advance of the ^v-'i^-" 
advertised "camp drill" of the State Gruards, 
also promising that the Home Guards should 
rally in force to support it. Thomas ordered the 
movement, and, in spite of numerous obstacles. 
Colonel Thomas E. Bramlette brought his regi- 
ment to the Lexington Fair Ground on the night 
of the 19th of September. His advent was so sud- 
den that he came near making important arrests. 
John C. Breckinridge, Humphrey Marshall, and 
other leaders were present, but being warned fled 
in different directions, and the " camp drill," shorn 
of its guiding spirits, proved powerless for the mis- 
chievous ends which had evidently been intended. 
At Louisville General Anderson lost no time in 
an effort to meet Buckner's advance. There were 
no organized troops in the city, but the brigade 
Rousseau had been collecting on the Indiana shore 
was hastily called across the river, and joined to 
the Louisville Home Guards, making in all some 
two thousand five hundred men, who were sent 
out by the raikoad towards Nashville, under the 
personal command of Sherman. An expedition of 
the enemy had burned the important raih'oad 
bridges, apparently, however, with the simple ob- 
ject of creating delay. Nevertheless, Sherman 
went on and occupied Muldraugh's HiU, where he 
was soon reenforced; for the utmost efforts had 
been used by the Governors of Ohio and Indiana 
to send to the help of Kentucky every available 
regiment. H Buckner meditated the capture of 
Louisville, this show of force caused him to pause ; 



Chap. III. 

Gen. Scott 
to Ander- 
son, Oct. 6, 
1861. W. E. 
Vol. IV., 
p. 296. 



Oct. 8, 1861. 

Ibid., p. 297. 


to Garrett 

Davis, Oct. 

8, 1861. 


but he remained firm at Bowling Green, increasing 
his army, and ready to take part in whatever 
movement events might render feasible. 

No serious or decisive conflicts immediately fol- 
lowed these various moves on the military chess- 
board; they served merely to define the hostile 
frontier. With Polk at Columbus, Buckner at 
Bowling Green, and ZoUicoffer in front of Cumber- 
land Gap, the Confederate frontier was practically 
along the northern Tennessee line. The Union 
line ran irregularly through the center of Ken- 
tucky. One direct result was rapidly to eliminate 
the armed secessionists. Humphrey Marshall, 
Breckinridge, and others, who had set up rebel 
camps, hastened with their followers within the 
protection of the Confederate line. Before firrther 
operations occurred, a change of Union commanders 
took place. The excitement, labors, and responsi- 
bilities proved too great for the physical strength 
of General Anderson. Relieved at his own request, 
on October 8, he relinquished the command to 
General Sherman, who was designated by General 
Scott to succeed him. The new and heavy duties 
which fell upon him were by no means to Sher- 
man's liking. " I am forced into the command of 
this department against my will," he wrote. Look- 
ing at his field with a purely professional eye, the 
disproportion between the magnitude of his task 
and the immediate means for its accomplishment 
oppressed him like a nightmare. There were no 
troops in Kentucky when he came. The recruits 
sent from other States were gradually growing 
into an army, but as yet without drill, equipment, 
or organization. Kentucky itself was in a curious 


transition. By vote of lier people and her Legis- chap. m. 
lature she had decided to adhere to the Union; 
but, as a practical incident of war, many of her 
energetic and adventurous young men drifted to 
Southern camps, while the Union property-holders 
and heads of families were unfit or unwilling im- 
mediately to enlist in active service to sustain the 
cause they had espoused. The Home Guards, 
called into service for ten days, generally refused 
to extend their term. The arms furnished them 
laecame scattered, and if not seized or stolen by 
young secession recruits and carried to the enemy, 
were with difficulty recovered for use. Now that 
the General Government had assumed command, 
and the State had ordered an army, many neigh- 
borhoods felt privileged to caU for protection, 
rather than furnish a quota for offense ; and even 
where they were ready to serve, the enlistment of 
the State volunteers, recently authorized by the 
Legislature, had yet scarcely begun. 

About the middle of October Mr. Cameron, Sec- 
retary of "War, returning from a visit to Fremont, 
passed through Louisville and held a military 
consultation with Sherman. "I remember taking 
a large map of the United States," writes Sherman, 
"and assuming the people of the whole South 
to be in rebelhon, that our task was to subdue 
them, showed that McClellan was on the left, 
having a frontage of less than 100 miles, and Fre- 
mont on the right about the same ; whereas I, the 
center, had from the Big Sandy to Padueah, over 
300 miles of frontier; that McClellan had 100,000 
men, Fremont 60,000, whereas to me had only been 
allotted about 18,000. I argued that for the piir- 


CHAP. III. pose of defense we should have 60,000 men at once, 
and for offense would need 200,000 before we 
were done. Mr. Cameron, who still lay on the bed, 
threw up his hands and exclaimed: 'Grreat God! 
where are they to come from?' I asserted that 
there were plenty of men at the North ready and 
willing to come if he would only accept then- 
services; for it was notorious that regiments had 
been formed in aU the Northwestern States, whose 
services had been refused by the War Department, 
on the ground that they would not be needed. 
We discussed all these matters fuUy, in the most 

wmiamT. friendly spirit, and I thought I had aroused Mr. 

"Me^Ss;" Cameron to a realization of the great war that was 

^"m"''' before us, and was, in fact, upon us." WhUe recog- 
nizing many of the needs which Sherman pointed 
out, the Secretary could not immediately promise 
him any great augmentation of his force. Com- 
plaints and requests of this character were con- 
stantly coming to the Administration from all the 
commanders and governors, and a letter of Presi- 
dent Lincoln, written in reply to a similar strain 
of fault-finding from Governor Morton of Indiana, 
plainly indicates why such requirements in all 
quarters could not be immediately supplied: 

Tour letter by the hand of Mr. Prunk was received 
yesterday. I write this letter because I wish you to 
believe of us (as we certainly believe of you) that we are 
doing the very best we can. You do not receive arms 
from us as fast as you need them ; but it is because we 
have not near enough to meet all the pressing demands, 
and we are obliged to share around what we have, sending 
the larger share to the points which appear to need them 
most. We have great hope that our own supply will be 
ample before long, so that you and all others can have as 



lany as you need. I see an article in an Indianapolis chap. hi. 

ewspaper denouncing me for not answering your letter 

jnt by a special messenger two or three weeks ago. I 

id make what I thought the best answer I could to that 

itter. As I remember, it asked for ten heavy guns to be 

istributed, with some troops, at Lawrenceburgh, Madi- 

on, New Albany, and Evansville ; and I ordered the guns 

nd directed you to send the troops, i£ you had them. 

LS to Kentucky, you do not estimate that State as more 

oaportant than I do, but I am compelled to watch aU 

loints. While I write this I am, if not in range at least 

a hearing of cannon-shot from an army of enemies more 

ban 100,000 strong. I do not expect them to capture 

his city; but I know they would if I were to send 

he men and arms from here to defend Louisville, of 

rhich there is not a single hostile armed soldier within 

orty miles, nor any force known to be moving upon it 

i-om any distance. It is true the army in our front may 

nake a half -circle around southward and move on Louis- 

dlle, but when they do we will make a half-circle around 

lorthward and meet them ; and in the mean time we wiU 

^et up what forces we can from other sources to also 

neet them. 

I hope ZoUicoffer has left Cumberland Gap (though I fear 
le has not) because, if he has, I rather infer he did it because 
5f his dread of Camp Dick Robinson, reenforced from 
Dincumati, moving on him, than because of his intention 
L.0 move on Louisville. But if he does go round and 
reenforce Buckner, let Dick Robinson come round and 
ceenforce Sherman, and the thing is substantially as it 
was when ZoUicoffer left Cumberland Gap. I state this 
IS an illustration; for, in fact, I think if the Gap is 
left open to us Dick Robinson should take it and hold 
it ; while Indiana and the vicinity of Louisville in Ken- 
tucky can reenf orce Sherman faster than ZoUicoffer can 
Buckner. . 

The conjectures of the President proved sub- 
stantially correct. Moreover, great as was the need 
of arms for Union regiments, the scarcity among 
the rebels was much greater. Of the 30,000 stands 

LiQColn to 

Sept. 29, 
1861. MS. 


Chap. m. -wMcli Johnston asked for when he assumed com- 
mand, the rebel War Department coiild only send 
him 1000 ; ammunition and supplies were equally 
wanting; he called out 50,000 volunteers from Ten- 
nessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas, but reenforce- 
ments from this and other sources were slow. His 
greatest immediate help came by transferring 
Major-Greneral William J. Hardee with his division 
from Missouri to Bowling Green. If, as Sherman 
STirmised, a concentration of his detachments would 
have enabled him to make a successful march on 
Louisville, he was unwilling to take the risk. The 
contingency upon which the rebel invasion was 
probably based, the expected rising in Kentucky, 
had completely failed. "We have received but 
little accession," he Avrote to Richmond, "to our 
ranks since the Confederate forces crossed the line ; 
-r ^ ^ * in fact, no such enthusiastic demonstration as to 
ootii^i. justify any movements not warranted by our ability 
Tvifp.Ie"!' to maintain our own communications." "The 
Kentuckians still come in small squads," wrote one 
of his recruiting brigadiers ; " I have induced the 
most of them to go in for the war. This requires 
about three speeches a day. When thus stirred 
up, they go almost to a man. Since I have found 
that I can't be a general, I have turned recruiting 
Buo°toeT? agent and sensation speaker for the brief period 
Ibid., p. 467." that I shaU remain." For the present Johnston's 
policy was purely defensive ; he directed Cumber- 
land Gap to be fortified, and completed the works 
•^"coope?*" at Columbus, "to meet the probable flotiUa from 
Ibid., p. 436! the North, supposed to carry two hundred heavy 
Bu'itaOT? guns"; while Buckner was vigorously admonished 
ibi(i,p.437; to "hold on to Bowling Green." He made this 


order wheii Buckner had six thousand men ; but chap. m. 
even when that number was doubled, after the joimatonto 
arrival of Hardee, Johnston was occupied with cal- oS°i7!i86i. 
culations for defense, and was asking for further iv.,p. 466.' 



CHAP. IV. rr^HE loyalty of Andrew Johnson and Ms ener- 
JL getic defense of the Union in the Senate of 
the United States called public attention with 
peculiar force to Eastern Tennessee. Nominally, 
the whole State was in rebellion ; really, nearly 
one-third of its people, occupying about one-third 
of its territory, remaiiaed firm in their attachment 
to the Q-overnment. By repeated public conven- 
tions, by a solemn appeal to the Legislature, and an 
overwhelming popular vote, the region known as 
East Tennessee protested against the usurpation 
and military domination which made them, against 
their will, aliens and enemies to the Constitution 
and flag they revered. At an election held on the 
8th day of June, 1861, at which the people were 
asked to ratify the military league with the South- 
ern Confederacy and the Provisional Constitution 
Goodspeed, of the Confederate States, twenty-nine cotmties of 
of^BMM- Eastern Tennessee cast only 14,780 votes for sepa- 
pp. 532-534. ration and 32,923 votes against separation. StiU 
further, when the rebel Grovernor ordered an elec- 
tion, on the first Thursday in August, for delegates 
to the rebel congress (that being the day fixed by 
the State constitution and laws for electing Repre- 
sentatives to the Congress of the United States), the 


Union electors in the second and fotirtli districts chap.iv. 
cast their ballots for Horace Maynard and Andrew -^ ^ 
J. Clements in such numbers (estimated at 10,000 ..coJteated 
votes in the second and at 2000 votes in the fourth) ^'^cttone 
that they were admitted to seats as Representatives pp.lTrik 
in the Thirty-seventh Congress. 

The people of East Tennessee, finding no redress 
in petition or ballot, gave signs of a determination 
to liberate themselves by force of arms. Upon un- 
mistakable evidence of their loyalty, the Lincoln 
Government made efforts to render them aU possi- 
ble assistance. A considerable supply of arms and 
ammunition was sent to Lieutenant William Nel- 
son ia Kentucky to be forwarded to the Unionists 
in East Tennessee, and another navy lieutenant, 
S. P. Carter, was commissioned specially to organ- 
ize Union regiments of Tennesseeans willing to en- 
list ; this, however, was a work of no little trouble 
and danger. Transportation was extremely diffi- 
cult over the long mountain route without a 
railroad. The rebel authorities were constantly 
watchful of this weak point in their offensive and 
defensive plans. From the first, Grovernor Harris 
treated East Tennessee as a hostile and conquered 
country, and his successive letters to Jefferson wSer, 
Davis form a continuous call for additional mili- isei. 

W. E. Vol. 

tary force to hold that region in subjection.' The iv., p. 389. 

1 " Twelve or fourteen thou- States soutli of us to that point, the 

sand men in East Tennessee adoption of a decided and ener- 

wonld crush out rebellion there getic policy (which I am resolved 

without firing a gun, while a upon so soon as I have a suffi- 

smaller force may involve us in cient force to sustain it), the ar- 

seenesof blood that will take long rest and indictment for treason 

years to heal. We can temporize of the ringleaders, will give per- 

with the rebellious spirit of that feet peace and quiet to that divi- 

people no longer. If you can order sion of our State in the course of 

a sufficient number of troops from two months." 


CHAP. IV. rebel G-eneral ZoUicoffer's earliest duty had been to 
1861. overawe the Union sentiment of East Tennessee 
and protect the important railroad line connect- 
ing distant parts of the Confederacy, the posses- 
sion of which was indispensable to its military 
operations. Despite his vigilance, Union arms and 
ammunition were smuggled in and secret combina- 
tions begun. Between rigorous military repression 
on one side and chronic Union uprising on the 
other, a desperate condition of affairs grew up, stiU 
further embittered by the gradual development of 
a malignant persecution of bolder Unionists in the 
civil tribunals of the State — an evil of which Jeff- 
erson Davis himseK felt obliged to take notice.^ 

All summer long President Lincoln heard with 
sympathy, from Andrew Johnson and others, the 
reports of the patriotism and sufferings of their 
people. It will be remembered that in the memo- 
randum made by him after Bull Eun, he suggested 
a military movement from Cincinnati on East 
Tennessee. Since the culmination of affairs in Ken- 

1 RoTjertson Topp writing to to poison the minds of the people 

Robert Josselyn under date of against the Government, and if 

October 26, 1861, says: tolerated and persisted in, the 

" More than one hundred per- people of that end of the State 

sons have been arrested in East at a critical moment will rise up 

Tennessee, without warrants in enemies instead of friends. You 

some eases, marched great dis- ask me who makes these arrests, 

tances, and carried into court on As far as I can learn they are 

no other charge than that they instigated by a few malicious, 

were Union men. . . troublesome men in and about 

" I have spent much time this KJnoxville. . ." 
summer and fall in trying to con- [Indorsement.] 

oiliate the people of East Ten- " Referred to the Secretary of 

nessee. Ithoughtlhadsueceeded. War, that such inquiry may be 

Just as the people were quieting made and action taken as will 

down, getting reconciled, raising prevent, as far as we may, such 

Vol. IV., volunteers, etc., they commenced proceedings as axe herein de- 

p. 477. these arrests, which have gone far scribed. J. D." 


tucky, with tlie prospect of early active operations, chap. iv. 
such a project had acquired a new importance. isei. 
Late ia September he went to the War Department 
and made the following memorandum, which, 
though not in the form of an express order, was 
nevertheless intended as a substantial direction of 
military affairs : 

On or about the 5th of October (the exact day to be 
determined hereafter) I wish a movement made to seize 
and hold a point on the raUroad connecting Virginia and 
Tennessee, near the mountain pass called Cumberland 
Gap. That point is now guarded against tis by ZoUi- 
coffer, with six or eight thousand rebels, at Barboursville, 
Kentucky, say twenty-five miles from the Grap towards 
Lexington. We have a force of five or six thousand, 
imder General Thomas, at Camp Dick Robinson, about 
twenty -five miles from Lexington and seventy-five from 
Zollicoffer's camp, on the road between the two. There 
is not a railroad anywhere between Lexington and the 
point to be seized, and along the whole length of which 
the Union sentiment among- the people largely predomi- 
nates. We have military possession of the railroad from 
Cincinnati to Lexington and from Louisville to Lexington, 
and some Home Guards, under General Crittenden, are 
on the latter line. We have possession of the railroad 
from Louisville to Nashville, Tennessee, so far as Mul- 
draugh's Hill, about forty miles, and the rebels have pos- 
session of that road all south of there. At the Hill we 
have a force of eight thousand, under General Sherman, 
and about an equal force of rebels is a very short dis- 
tance south, under General Buckner. 

We have a large force at Paducah, and a smaller at 
Fort Holt, both on the Kentucky side, with some at Bird's 
Point, Cairo, Mound City, EvansviUe, and New Albany, 
all on the other side; and all which, with the gunboats 
on the river, are perhaps sufficient to guard the Ohio 
from Louisville to its mouth. 

About supplies of troops my general idea is, that all 
from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, IlHnois, Missouri, and 


Chap. IV. Kansas, not now elsewhere, be left to Fremont. All from 
Indiana and Michigan, not now elsewhere, be sent to An- 
derson at Louisville. All from Ohio needed in Western 
Virginia be sent there, and any remainder be sent to 
Mitehel, at Cincinnati, for Anderson. AH east of the 
mountains be appropriated to McCleUan and to the coast. 
As to movements my idea is, that the one for the 
coast and that on Cumberland Gap be simultaneous, 
and that in the mean time preparation, vigilant watch- 
ing, and the defensive only be acted upon, this, however, 
not to apply to Fremont's operations in Northern and 
Middle Missouri. That before these movements Thomas 
and Sherman shall respectively watch but not attack 
ZoUicoffer and Buckner. That when the coast and Gap 
movements shall be ready Sherman is merely to stand 
fast, while all at Cincinnati and aU at Louisville, with all 
on the line, concentrate rapidly at Lexington, and thence 
to Thomas's camp, joining him, and the whole thence 
upon the Gap. It is for the military men to decide 
whether they can find a pass through the mountains at 
or near the Gap which cannot be defended by the enemy 
with a greatly inferior force, and what is to be done in 
regard to this. 
The coast and Gap movements made. Generals Mc- 
■^ ^ Clellan and Fremont, in their respective departments, 

^Vof i"" ^^ avail themselves of any advantages the diversions 
pp. 466, 466. may present. 

Notwithstanding President Lincoln's earnest in- 
terest in this project, and the ahnost express order 
above quoted, one obstacle after another arose to 
prevent its being carried out. The special atten- 
tion of General Thomas was also upon it. A brigade 
of East Tennesseeans was being enlisted at Camp 
Dick Eobinson, who came there because they could 
not with safety be organized in their own. homes, 
under the eyes of ZoUicoffer. From them, and 
more especially from Lieutenant Carter, Thomas 
obtained such current information as made him 


anxious to lead an expedition throngli Cumberland chap. iv. 
Gap. He several times recommended the move- 
ment ; asking General Anderson (October 4) for isei. 
four good regiments, with transportation and am- 
munition, and adding: "I believe if I could get 
such a force here, and be ready to march in ten 
days from this time, that I could seize on the rail- j^^mon, 
road at KnoxvUle and cut off all communication '^%^'r^^^' 
between Memphis and Virginia." The Washing- p. 294." 
ton authorities meanwhile, probably uninformed of 
General Thomas's spirit and confidence, designated 
General 0. M. Mitchel for the duty. This appar- Thomas 
ent slight touched Genei'al Thomas's pride, and he octaMsei. 
asked to be relieved. Sherman, however, interfered, iv., p. sol' 
informing him that Mitchel was subject to his ^Thra^asr 
command, and intimating that he (Thomas) would °w. k 
not be robbed of his opportunity. While the Sec- p.'soe." 
retary of War was visiting Sherman, as already 
mentioned, he also urged upon the general his 
personal desire "that the Cumberland Ford and 
Gap should be seized, and the East Tennessee and Thomas to 
Virginia Railroad taken possession of, and the oct^MSM. 
artery that supplied the rebellion cut." We have iv., p. su. 
seen that Sherman was in no mood for the enter- 
prise ; that on the contrary he wanted large rein- 
forcements for defense. And though Thomas once 
more (November 5) earnestly suggested that with 
four more good regiments "we could seize the 
railroad yet"; and again, "With my headquar- 
ters at Somerset I can easily seize the most favor- Iheman? 
able time for invading East Tennessee, which 186?"^^. 
ought to be done this winter," Sherman expressed pp. sss, 339. 
his belief that they would have enough to do in 
Kentucky, and directed Thomas simply to hold 


Chap. IV. ZoUicoffer in check and await events. Indeed, 

^tISX*" from this time forward, Sherman grew more and 

w. k ■ more apprehensive, till at length he could scarcely 

p. 336." endure his great responsibility. "Our forces too 

"mSS," small to do good and too large to sacrifice," he re- 

p"^:' ported on November 3. " The future looks dark 

as possible," he again wrote to Washington Novem- 

^T^'as,*" ber 6th ; "it would be better if some more sanguine 

^"w^E.^^^' mind were here, for I am forced to order according 

p.'sd." to my convictions." 

Sherman has himseK recorded that a certain de- 
gree of pubhc clamor had arisen about his military 
administration in Kentucky, and particularly that 
"Me^Sa," he was charged in unfriendly newspapers with 
p?204;' being insane; when, therefore, he was soon after 
relieved from command, he attributed it to this 
cause. This belief was altogether incorrect. The 
fact that he had asked to be relieved, and had no 
faith in his own ability to perform the service re- 
quired with the means furnished, sufficiently ac- 
counts for the change. But there exists in addition 
positive evidence that the President was in no wise 
influenced by the newspaper slander. Upon a let- 
ter from Mr. Guthrie,^ indicating that the Union 

1 " I find many of the Union his policy of a line of assault and 
men of the State are anxious defense required more troops than 
that General Sherman should re- could be spared without inter- 
main and lead our advance. They fering with other plans adopted 
do not see the difficulty as it pre- or cherished by the Commander- 
sents itself to me. I suppose in-Chief and higher councils at 
that although General Sherman Washington. In my judgment 
has been superseded at his own there is but one way for the Gov- 
request that it was all the more ernment to have the services of 
readily done because the line of General Sherman in Kentucky, 
policy for the army assembled in and that is to make General 
Kentucky pressed from Washing- Buell a major-general and re- 
ton was different from that his quest General Sherman to report 
judgment dictated, and because to him. 



men of Kentucky were unwilling to lose General 
Sherman's presence and services, but that a ques- 
tion of rank stood in the way, Mr. Lincoln made 
the endorsement : "If General McClellan thinks it 
proper to make Buell a major-general, enabling 
Sherman to return to Kentucky, it would rather 
please me." 

The retirement of General Scott on the first of 
November, and the elevation of McClellan to the 
command of general-in-chief, brought with it, as 
usual, many changes in minor commands. Briga- 
dier-General D. 0. Buell, previously chosen by 
General Anderson for service in Kentucky, was 
McClellan's intimate friend ; and the new General- 
in-Chief probably needed no special inducement to 
give so important a duty to a favorite, who was in 
addition an accomplished soldier. His qualities 
as a commander were yet to be developed; like 
McClellan himself, up to the outbreak of the war, 
he had obtained but little rank. The Department 
of the Ohio was formed on November 9, and Gen- 
ei^al Buell assigned to its command. One good 
quality — confidence — he manifested at the outset. 
" Sherman," he wrote, " still insists that I require 
two hundred thousand men. I am quite content to 
try with a good many less." In an interview with 
McClellan, before Buell went to Kentucky, the two 
friends had fuUy discussed their respective duties 

Chap. IV. 

" Endorse- 

Nov. 27, 
1861. MS. 

Buell to 

Nov. 22, 

1861. W. R. 

Vol. VII., 

p. 444. 

" The Administration is just as 
much bound to respect and guard 
the honor of the General and offi- 
cers and soldiers, as they are to 
restore the Union and enforce 
the laws. 

" I would not like to see Gen- 
eral Sherman ordered to report to 

Vol. v.— 5 

General Buell while he ranks 
General Buell, hut would greatly 
rejoice to know that he was di- 
rected to report to Major-Gen- 
eral Buell, and so would most if 
not all the Union men of the 
State and most of the officers in 
the field, as I am told," 

Guthrie to 
Nov. 22, 

1861. MS. 


Chap. rv. and hopes. MeClellan immediately began send- 
ing him reenforcements, and in his first written 
instruction made the East Tennessee movement a 
prime object. This injunction he repeated and 
emphasized from time to time : " I am still con- 
vinced that political and strategical considerations 
render a prompt movement in force on Eastern 
Tennessee imperative. The object to be gained is 
to cut the communication between the Mississippi 
Valley and Eastern Virginia ; to protect our Union 

to Bueu, friends m Tennessee, and reestablish the Grovern- 

Nov. 25, ' 

'voi. ^'i^' i3ient of the Union in the eastern portion of that 
P' **'• State." " I think we owe it to our Union friends 
Ibid., in Eastern Tennessee to protect them at all hazards. 

Nov. 29, ^ 

^ Vol. vi'i!!' First secure that ; then, if you possess the means, 
ibiT carry Nashville." "If you gain and retain pos- 
w?R?' Vol' session of Eastern Tennessee you will have won 
^^ mcl.,*''*' brighter laurels than any I hope to gain." " I tell 
^''V'e.**'^' the East Tennessee men here to rest quiet ; that you 
pp°i73, 583. will take care of them, and will never desert them." 
As soon as Congress met. President Lincoln made 
another effort to forward the expedition which he 
had so much at heart. His study of the subject 
with military men showed him that the problem 
of transportation was the main difficulty the East 
Tennessee campaign would have to encounter. To 
obviate this he proposed to Congress the construc- 
tion of a military railroad to Cumberland G-ap or 
Knoxville. "I deem it of importance," said his 
annual message, "that the loyal regions of East 
Tennessee and Western North Carolina should be 
connected with Kentucky and other faithful parts 
of the Union by railroad. I therefore recommend, 
as a military measure, that Congress provide for 


the construction of sucli road as speedily as pos- chap. iv. 
sible. Kentucky, no doubt, will cooperate, and, 
through her Legislature, make the most judicious 
selection of a line. The northern terminus must 
connect with some existing railroad ; and whether 
the route shall be from Lexington or Nicholasville 
to the Cumberland Gap ; or from Lebanon to the 
Tennessee line in the direction of Knoxville ; or on 
some still different line, can easily be determined. 
Kentucky and the General Government cooperat- 
ing, the work can be completed in a very short 
time ; and when done, it will be not only of vast 
present usefulness, but also a valuable permanent "^'^Gioue',"' 
improvement worth its cost in all the future." In "%. i. 
addition he went personally before a Senate Com- 
mittee to explain and urge the project ; the subject 
was referred to a select committee, and a biU was 
reported and passed to a second reading ; but as 
the committee and the Senate were still in that 
flush ol early sanguine enthusiasm which expected 
the rebellion to be crushed by a single vigorous 
campaign, and especially as the army made no 
advance against Cumberland Gap, but moved 
almost its entire strength in a different direction, 
the subject was neglected and dropped, amid the 
hurry of more pressing legislation. 

It would seem that the general direction of cen- 
tral authority could scarcely be made stronger 
without descending to such details as must, in war, 
always be left to the determination of local condi- 
tions, and to that judgment which an officer founds 
upon his personal observation. Apparently Gen- 
eral Buell accepted the instruction which had 
been given him ; but McCleUan quickly discovered 


CHAP. rv. that the reenforcements sent were not being placed 
with reference to East Tennessee. "What is the 
^oBueur reason," he inquired by telegraph, " f or concentra- 
^iJei''"' tion of troops at Louisville ? I urge movement at 
Yiup^ito. once on Eastern Tennessee unless it is impossible." 
Here Buell ought to have sent a straightforward 
reply, either that it was impossible, or that he 
would obey ; instead of this he answered evasively, 
suggesting several alternative plans, but giving no 
indications of a willingness to act ; his chief solici- 
tude was reenforcement, drill, organization. These 
were certainly useful, perhaps necessary. But 
when they interfered with the prosecution of an 
enterprise specifically directed by his superior, he 
should not have left his intentions unexplained. 
Ten days more ran on, and Andrew Johnson and 
Horace Maynard, who were in Washington attend- 
Maynard ™§ Cougress, seut BucU an anxious dispatch : 
.ToiinMn to " OiiT psoplc are oppressed and pursued as beasts 
DeS"?'i86i. of the forest ; the Government must come to their 
vii.,p.48o: relief." His reply kept the word of promise to the 
Bueu to ^^^ • " ^ assure you I recognize no more imperative 
^^'Sd "^"^ duty, and crave no higher honor, than that of res- 
cic^'saMi. cuing our loyal friends in Tennessee, whose suffer- 
vTii!!'p- m ings and heroism I think I can appreciate." But 
his letter to McClellan of the same day, if they 
could have seen it, would have sadly chiUed their 
hope : " I do not mean to be diverted more than is 
Buell to absolutely necessary from what I regard as of the 
Dec. s! 1861. first importance — the organization of my forces, 
vii.,p. 483! now little better than a mob." In his letter of two 
days later, by way of making amends, he said he 
had organized a division at Lebanon with special 
reference to East Tennessee, but hinted that he 


would convince McClellan it could be used to better chap. iv. 
advantage elsewhere. M^cfSia'ii, 

To leave him no excuse the War Department isei. ' 

W. R. Vol. 

telegraphed him, December 20 : " Do you need vii.,p. w?'. 

, , 1 , T Thomas to 

more regiments than are now under your orders ; sueii, 
if so, how many?" His reply indicated that he ^ e^^vIi 
realized he was trying the patience of the Govern- '^"■' p- ''''^■ 
ment : " I am not willing to say that I need more Thomas, 
regiments. I can use more with decided advan- i86i!''w.'''e. 

. . Vol. VII 

tage, if they can be sent." His more formal an- v. sod. " 
swer acknowledged that he had an aggregate "of 
some 70,000 men, about 57,000 for duty," and his 
letter at length discloses the idea upon which he 
had been acting : " The plan which I propose for jbid., 
the troops here is one of defense on the east and isbi^^w^'e. 
of invasion on the south." Finally, the approach of pp°6ii, sih. 
the New Tear, together with other circumstances, 
again brought the question, so long evaded and 
neglected, sharply to his attention. "Johnson, 
Maynard, etc., are again becoming frantic," Mc- 
Clellan telegraphed him on December 29th, " and 
have President Lincoln's sympathy excited. Po- 
litical considerations would make it advisable to 
get the arms and troops into Eastern Tennessee at 
a very early day ; you are, however, the best judge. to^sSeuT 
Can you teU me about when and in what force you i86?.^V.'''e. 
wiU. be in Eastern Tennessee ? " Whether he in- p.' 926. ' 
tended it or not, he once more sent an evasive and 
misleading response: "It startles me to think," 
he wrote on December 29, "how much time has 
elapsed since my arrival, and to find myseK still in 
Louisville. . . I have this moment received your 
dispatch. I intend a column of 12,000 men, with 
three batteries, for East Tennessee ; but, as I have 


Chap. IV. telegraphed you, it is impossible to fix a time for it 
to be there, so much depends on the circumstances 
which may arise in the mean time. . . In any 
event I must tell you, what I have been unwilling 

M^Sieuan, to do all aloug, that you will require more troops 

i8S*"w.V in Kentucky. Don't acknowledge this, however, 
Vol. VII., :' 

pp. 620, 621. but act on at." 

This last quahfied promise did not long serve to 
postpone the decisive avowal that BuelLhad been 
hitherto allowing the Administration to entertain 
delusive hopes. Prompted by causes which are re- 
lated elsewhere. President Lincoln, on the 4th of 
January, telegraphed him the definite question: 
Liucointo "Have arms gone forward for East Tennessee? 
ja^4?"862. Please tell me the progress and condition of the 
vir^'p.^sa movement in that direction. Answer." In his reply, 
BueU for the first time, after nearly two months of 
evasion, fully let out the secret that his plans lay 
in another quarter. " While my preparations have 
had this movement constantly in view, I will con- 
fess to your Excellency that I have been bound to 
it more by my sympathy for the people of East 
Tennessee and the anxiety with which you and the 
General-in-Chief have desired it than by my opin- 
ion of its wisdom as an unconditional measure. As 
earnestly as I wish to accomplish it, my judgment 
has from the first been decidedly against it, if it 
should render at all doubtful the success of a 
movement against the great power of the rebel- 
lion in the West, which is mainly arrayed on the 
LiniJta, li^6 from Columbus to Bowling Green, and can 
■'^'^V'r ''^^ speedily be concentrated at any point of that line 
ppl'sso, 531. which is attacked singly." President Lincoln's 
comment on this extraordinary avowal is in that 


generous and forbearing tone which forms one of chap. iv. 
his characteristic traits ; but it does not conceal his 
sadness that the cause is to lose an advantage 
which a resolute commander might have grasped : 

Yoiir dispatch of yesterday lias been received, and it 
disappoints and distresses me. I have shown it to G-en- 
eral McClellan, who says he wOI write you to-day. I am 
not competent to criticize your views, and therefore what 
I offer is in justification of myself. Of the two, I would 
rather have a point on the railroad south of Cumberland 
Gap than Nashville. First, because it cuts a great artery 
of the enemy's communication, which Nashville does not ; 
and secondly, because it is in the midst of loyal people, 
who would rally around it, while Nashville is not. 
Again, I cannot see why the movement on East Ten- 
nessee would not be a diversion in your favor, rather 
than a disadvantage, assuming that a movement towards 
Nashville is the main object. But my distress is that our 
friends in Bast Tennessee are being hanged and driven 
to despair, and even now, I fear, are thinking of taking 
rebel arms for the sake of personal protection. In this 
we lose the most valuable stake we have in the South. 
My dispatch, to which yours is an answer, was sent with 
the knowledge of Senator Johnson and Representative 
Maynard of Bast Tennessee, and they wiU be upon 
me to know the answer, which I cannot safely show 
them. They would despair, possibly resign to go and Lincoln to 
save their famUies somehow, or die with them. I do ja^g^'ijej. 
not intend this to be an order in any sense, but merely, „Y'^tt 
as intimated before, to show you the grounds of niy pp. 927, 928. 

McClellan did not let Bnell off so easily. A sensi- 
tive oflBcer would have little relished to be told that 
he had not only caused himself to be misunder- 
stood, but had deranged the plans of his superior. 
" I was extremely sorry," wrote McClellan the same 
day, " to learn from your telegram to the Presi- 
dent that you had from the beginning attached 



Chap. IV. little Or no importance to a movement in East 
Tennessee. I had not so understood yonr views, 
and it develops a radical difference between your 
views and my own, which I deeply regret. My 
own general plans for the prosecution of the war 
make the speedy occupation of East Tennessee 
and its lines of railway matters of absolute neces- 
sity. Bowling Q-reen and Nashville are in that 
connection of very secondary importance at the 
present moment. My own advance cannot, accord- 
ing to my present views, be made until your troops 
are solidly established in the Eastern portion of 
Tennessee. If that is not possible a complete and 
prejudicial change in my own plans at once be- 
comes necessary. Interesting as Nashville may be 
to the Louisville interests, it strikes me that its 
possession is of very secondary importance in com- 
parison with the immense resiilts that would arise 
from the adherence to our cause of the masses in 
East Tennessee, West North Carolina, South Caro- 
lina, North Georgia, and Alabama; results that I 
feel assured would ere long flow from the move- 
ment I allude to." 

This candid lecture was within a week supple- 
mented by another letter from the General-in-Chief 
to Buell containing a suggestion so strong as al- 
most to amount to a positive order. " You have 
no idea of the pressure brought to bear here upon 
the Government for a forward movement. It is so 
strong that it seems absolutely necessary to make 
the advance on Eastern Tennessee at once. I in- 
cline to this, as a first step, for many reasons. Your 
possession of the railroad there will surely prevent 
the main army in my front from being reenforced 

to Buell, 

Jan. 6, 1862. 

W. E. Vol. 

VII., p. 631. 


and may force Jolinstoii to detach. Its political chap. iv. 
effect wUl be very great," In his answer, written to'sueir 
the same day, BueU at length promised to carry •w^'e.^'vol 
out the instruction. "As I told you in my dis- 
patch, I shall now devote myself to it, contenting 
myself, as far as Bowling Green is concerned, with 
holding it in check and concealing my design as 
long as possible." But though he, in the same sueuto 
letter, acknowledged that the numerical strength of £^13^862. 
his command had risen to ninety thousand men, vn.,p. eis! 
he could not bring himself to act even in fulfill- 
ment of his own definite promise. Nearly three 
weeks later, he wrote a letter alleging that "the 
want of transportation and the condition of the 
roads" had thwarted the programme. To a long 
argument in support of this opinion, he added: 
" For the reasons I have stated I have been forced 
reluctantly to the conviction that an advance 
into East Tennessee is impracticable at this time 
on any scale which will be sufficient." The real 
reason of his conviction appears in a few sentences ibia., 
which follow, and which show a final decision to ^^V'lif^^' 
carry out his long cherished design of a movement vv- 931, 932. 
in force against Bowling Grreen. 

If there be a question among militaiy experts as 
to the momentary feasibihty or local value of this 
East Tennessee movement, there can be none when 
considered in its influence and relation to the whole 
great theater of war. A glance at the map, and a 
study of attendant circumstances, can leave no 
doubt that it was entirely possible to have seized 
and held the mountain region of Eastern Tennes- 
see, and that such an occupation would have been 
a severance of the rebel Confederacy, almost as 


CHAP. rv. complete and damaging to its military strength as 
the opening of the Mississippi. If, also, there had 
been any doubt about the earnestness of the Union 
sentiment of the people of Eastern Tennessee, 
events soon developed ample proofs of their 
patriotism and devotion to the G-overnment. The 
reader will remember the transmittal of arms and 
ammunition by Nelson and Carter, and the forma- 
tion of secret military organizations by the bolder 
Unionists. Eumors and promises of the coming 
of a Union army also reached them from time to 
time in such form as to excite their hope and 
measurably inspire their reliance. Had Greneral 
Thomas been permitted to march his column to 
Cumberland Gap and KnoxviUe, as he desired, 
1861. about the first of November, his presence would 
have been favored by extraordinary events. 

Startling news reached the rebel Secretary of 
War on the 9th of November. "Two large bridges," 
telegraphed a railroad president, " on my road were 
burned last night about twelve o'clock; also one 
bridge on the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad 
at the same time, and an effort made to burn the 
largest bridge on my road. There is great excite- 
ment along the whole line of road and evidence 
that the Union party are organizing and preparing 

Branner to 

Nov^9™86i. to destroy or take possession of the whole line from 
IV., p. 231.' Bristol to Chattanooga." Two days later the com- 
manding officer at Knoxville wrote further details. 
"My fears, expressed to you by letters and dis- 
patches of the 4th and 5th instants, have been 
realized by the destruction of no less than five 
railroad bridges : two on the East Tennessee and 
Virginia road, one on the East Tennessee and 



G-eorgia road, and two on the Western and Atlan- chap. iv. 
tic road. The indications were apparent to me, but 
I was powerless to avert it. The whole country- 
is now in a state of rebellion ; a thousand men are 
within six miles of Strawberry Plains Bridge, and 
an attack is contemplated to-morrow. . . An attack 
was made on Watauga yesterday. Our men suc- 
ceeded in beating them off, but they are gathering 
in larger force and may renew it in a day or two. 
They are not yet fully organized, and have no sub- 
sistence to enable them to hold out long. . . I learn 
from two gentlemen, just arrived, that another camp 
is being formed about ten miles from here in Sevier 
County, and already three hundred are in camp. 
They are being reenforced from Blount, Eoane, 
Johnson, Grreen, Carter, and other counties. I to cooper, 
need not say that great alarm is felt by the few i86i°^\"R. 
Southern men." " Civil war has broken out at pp.'mg, 237. 
length in East Tennessee," said another letter ; " in 
the late election scarcely a so-called Union man 
voted. . . They look confidently for the rees- 
tablishment of the Federal authority in the South 
with as much confidence as the Jews look for the 
coming of the Messiah, and I feel quite sure when 
I assert it that no event or circumstance can change 
or modify their hopes. In this state of affairs 
this part, and, indeed, all of East Tennessee, wiU 
be subjected during the war to apprehensions of 
internal revolt, more or less remote, as the tide of 
war turns in this direction. The recent bridge- 
burning in this section was occasioned by the hope 
that the Federal troops would be here in a few days 
from Kentucky to second their efforts. . . There 
are now camped in and about Elizabethtown, in 


Chap. IV. Carter County, some 1200 or 1500 men, armed with 
a motley assortment of guns, in open defiance of the 
Confederate States of America, and who are await- 
ing a movement of the Federal troops from Ken- 
tucky to march forward and take possession of the 
railroad. These men are gathered up from three 

Graham to ^^ ^^e counties in this region, and comprise the 

■^mvfs ° hostile Union element of this section, and never will 
1861^^' be appeased, conciliated, or quieted in a Southern 

IV., p. 239.' Confederacy." 

To these appeals from persons of local promi- 
nence, Governor Harris of Tennessee added his 
earnest entreaty. " The burning of railroad bridges 

narria to in East Tennessee shows a deep-seated spirit of re- 
Davie," bcUion in that section. Union men are organizing. 

Nov 12 

1861. w.E. This rebellion must be crushed out instantly, the 

Vol. IV., 

p. 240. leaders arrested and summarily punished." The 
Richmond authorities were not slow to respond. 
Two regiments from Memphis and another from 
Pensacola were ordered to East Tennessee in all 
haste, with such miscellaneous companies and 
fragments as could be gathered up nearer the 
scene of disturbance. "Troops are now moving 
toBSDmer, to East Tonuessee to crush the traitors," tele- 
1861° V.E. graphed the rebel Secretary of War; "you shall be 
p. '243." amply protected." There is little need to relate the 
quick and unsparing movements by the Confederate 
troops against the Union combinations. The upris- 
ing seems to have been ill-advised and ill-concerted. 
Unsupported as it was by Federal forces, the hasty 
gatherings of the loyalists were quickly dispersed, 
and many of the participants captured.^ 

1 The following extract from a "at the instance of a number of 
letter written by a Confederate, leading citizens, together with 



The course of the Richmond Government towards chap. iv. 
the East Tennessee "traitors," however, deserves 
to be remembered. In the eyes of Jefferson Davis 
"treason" to the Union was a holy duty, while 
"treason" to their usurpation was deserving of 
exemplary punishment, which in this instance 
was ordered with apparent relish. "I am very 
glad," telegraphed the Confederate Secretary of 
War, "to hear of the action of the military au- toijiS^iy, 
thorities, and hope to hear they have hung every isei^^w^R. 
bridge-burner at the end of the burned bridge." pp. too, 761. 

many officers of the army," to in- 
duce the Confederate Government 
to relax the extreme rigor of its 
East Tennessee policy, may prob- 
ably be accepted as fair evidence 
of the transaction it describes : 

" Colonels Leadbetter and 
Vance moved their commands 
into that portion of the State 
bordering on the Virginia and 
Kentucky line, while General 
Carroll and Colonel Wood moved 
from the west in the direction 
of Chattanooga and Enoxville. 
Scouting parties were sent out 
in every direction, who arrested 
hundreds suspected of disloyalty, 
and incarcerated them in prison, 
until almost every jail in the 
eastern end of the State was 
filled with poor, ignorant, and, for 
the most part, harmless men, who 
had been guilty of no crime, save 
that of lending a too-credulous 
ear to the corrupt demagogues 
whose counsels have led them 
astray. Among those thus cap- 
tured were a number of bridge- 
burners. These latter were tried 
and promptly executed. The rig- 
orous measures adopted by the 
military commanders here struck 
still greater terror into those who 

had before been Union men, and 
to avoid arrest and, as they 
thought, subsequent punishment, 
concealed themselves, thus giv- 
ing the semblance of guilt to 
actions innocent in fact and en- 
tirely natural under the circum- 
stances which surrounded them. 
About 400 of the poor victims of 
designing leaders have been sent 
to Tuscaloosa as prisoners of 
war, leaving in many instances 
their families in a helpless and 
destitute condition. The great- 
est distress prevails throughout 
the entire country in conse- 
quence of the various arrests that 
have been made, together with 
the facts that the horses and the 
other property of the parties that 
have been arrested have been 
seized by the soldiers, and in 
many eases appropriated to per- 
sonal uses or wantonly destroyed. 
Old political animosities and pri- 
vate grudges have been revived, 
and bad men among our friends 
are availing themselves of the op- 
portunity afforded them by bring- 
ing Southern men to hunt down 
with the ferocity of bloodhotmds 
all those against whom they en- 
tertain any feeling of dislike." 


to Currin, 

Dec. 19, 

1861. W. E. 

Vol. VII., 

pp. 777, 778. 



Chap. IV. 

to Wood, 
Nov. 25, 
1861. W. E. 
Vol. VII., 
p. 701. 

To the ofBcer in charge of the prisoners he gave 
specific instructions: "1st. All such as can be 
identified as having been engaged in bridge-burn- 
ing are to be tried summarily by drumhead court 
martial, and if found guilty executed on^ the spot 
by hanging. It would be well to leave their bodies 
hanging in the vicinity of the burned bridges. 2d. 
All such as have not been so engaged are to be 
treated as prisoners of war, and sent with an armed 
guard to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, there to be kept im- 
prisoned at the depot selected by the Government 
for prisoners of war. . . P. S.— Judge Patterson, 
Colonel Pickens, and other ringleaders of the same 
class, must be sent at once to Tuscaloosa to jail as 
prisoners of war." ^ 

Under these stimulating orders, which were dis- 
tinctly approved by Jefferson Davis,^ the military 

W. K. 

Vol. VII., 

p. 764. 

1 These instructions were re- 
peated by Benjamin to Major- 
General G. B. Crittenden, Dec. 
13, 1861: 

" If by chance you shall, how- 
ever, be thrown into command in 
any part of East Tennessee, you 
will understand the policy of the 
Government to be to show no 
further clemency to rebels in 
arms. All actually engaged in 
bridge-burning should be tried 
summarily, and executed, if con- 
victed, by military authority. 
All others captured with arms 
or proven to have taken up arms 
against the Government are to be 
sent to Tuscaloosa as prisoners 
of war. All such inhabitants as 
are known to have been in league 
with the traitors may be pardoned 
if they promptly deliver up their 
arms and take the oath of alle- 
giance to this Government. In 

such event they are to be pro- 
tected in their persons and 
property ; otherwise they should 
be arrested wherever found and 
treated as prisoners of war, and 
especially should care be taken to 
allow none of them to remain 
armed. These are the instruc- 
tions substantially that have been 
given to Colonel Leadbetter, 
under which he has been acting." 

2 "EiCHMOND, Dec. 10, 186] . 

"General W. H. Carroll, 
Knoxville : Execute the sentence 
of your court martial on the 
bridge-burners. The law does 
not require any approval by the 
President, but he entirely ap- 
proves my order to hang every 
bridge-burner you can catch and 

"J. P. Benjamin, 

" Secretary of War," 

W. K. Vol. Vn., p. 754. 


commanders executed their task with a zeal which chap. iv. 
seems to have outrun all discretion. A veritable 
reign of terror ensued. Several bridge-burners 
were hung with impressive publicity, the jails were 
filled with accused persons, and car-loads of the 
more notable " suspects " were shipped to the mili- 
tary prison at Tuscaloosa. When the civil laws 
and judicial process were invoked to ward off in 
some measure this wholesale proscription, the com- 
manding ofScer placed the city of Knoxville under 
martial law, " until such time as all the prisoners BfflJamiD, 

Dec 11 

charged with military offenses now in my custody isei. w. e. 
can be tried by a military tribunal." Persecution so p-' 76o. ' 
ran riot that one of the subordinate Confederate 
officers at last felt obliged to protest against it : "I 
have just been appointed commandant of this post 
[Knoxville] and have already discovered number- 
less abuses that should be corrected. Marauding 
bands of armed men go through the country, rep- 
resenting themselves to be the authorized agents of 
the State or Confederate Grovernment; they 'im- 
press ' into ' service ' horses and men ; they plunder 
the helpless, and especially the quondam supporters 
of Johnson, Maynard, and Brownlow ; they force 
men to enlist by the representation that otherwise 
they will be incarcerated at Tuscaloosa ; they force 
the people to feed and care for themselves and horses 
without compensation. Iwould gladly have instruc- jjonsarrat 
tions as to the mode of correcting these abuses — Beiy^amin, 
and the character of punishment to be inflicted upon isSf'wI'R. 
those guilty of such offenses." A feeble response p.^sraysM: 
of moderation came from Eichmond : " In relation 
to the abuses mentioned the Secretary expects you 
to be vigilant and energetic in suppressing them," 

VII., p. 819. 


CHAP. IV. but the officer was further directed to look for par- 
Monsareat, ticular iiistructions to another of his superiors, 

Jan. 3, 1862. , . , , , . 

w. R. Vol. whose seventy was also notorious. 

VTT . n R1Q '' n ^ TT • 

In the case of the most conspicuous of the b mon 
"ringleaders," the Confederate Government nar- 
rowly escaped the odium of what would have been 
a signal injustice and breach of faith, which its 
over-zealous partisans were eager to perpetrate. 
Local rebel vindictiveness centered itself against 
the editor of the " Knoxville Whig," the well-knovra 
" Parson " William Gr. Brownlow, who had opposed 
and denounced secession and rebellion in his jour- 
nal and elsewhere in bitter and unstinted language. 
When the uprising took place he was naturally 
suspected of having been its chief instigator ; and 
though he disavowed all knowledge of the bridge- 
burning, and publicly opposed and condemned local 
insurrection, his enemies adhered to their belief in 
his guilt, and on numerous occasions threatened him 
with personal violence. He appealed for protection 
to one of the Confederate commanders, and prom- 
ised to leave the country if he could have safeguard 
in his exit. Upon assurance that this would be 
done he surrendered himself to the military 
authorities, but was immediately arrested for trea- 
son on a civil writ. It must be recorded to the 
credit of Secretary Benjamin that he resisted the 
importunate clamors for Brownlow's trial and pun- 
ishment, and kept the honor of the Confederate 
Government by finally ordering him to be con- 
veyed under military protection within the Union 




IN sending General Hunter to relieve Fremont chap. v. 
the President did not intend that he should 
remain in charge of the Department of the West. 
Out of its vast extent the Department of Kansas 
was created a few days afterward, embracing the Nov. g.isei. 
State of Kansas, the Indian Territory west of Ar- 
kansas, and the Territories of Nebraska, Colorado, 
and Dakota, with headquarters at Fort Leaven- 
worth, and Hunter was transferred to its command. 
Q-eneral Halleck was assigned to the Department of 
the Missouri, embracing the States of Missouri, 
Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arkansas, and 
that portion of Kentucky west of the Cumberland 
River, to become the more permanent successor of 

. WE Vol. 

Fremont. By this division the Government had a iii., p. mi.' 
special object in view, namely, to organize a col- 
umn which should march southward along the 
Western frontier, and by such a march bring about 
several results, each of them important in itself 
and of cumulative influence upon the general plan 
of Western operations then in contemplation. It 
would protect the State of Kansas. It would serve 
to hold or repossess the Indian Territory. It 
would, by a comparatively short route, reach and 
Vol. v.— 6 si 


Chap. v. enter the nortlieastern corner of the State of 
Texas, where it might perhaps encourage the over- 
awed and suppressed Union sentiment ; or, in the 
alternative, effect a junction with an expedition to 
be sent by sea, and thus hold the Lone Star State 
to her Federal allegiance. But all this would be 
contingent upon unchecked success. 

It was known that such an enterprise would en- 
counter serious obstacles. The Confederate Gov- 
ernment had, among its earliest movements, reached 
out boldly to secure the Indian Territory. Under 
shelter of the Arkansas insurrection Greneral Albert 
Pike, with flatteries and promises, secured a nom- 
inal adhesion of the principal Indian chiefs to the 
Confederacy. It was, perhaps, not imknown to him 
that, with the usual fickleness of savage policy, 
some of them were making equally ardent and 
equally untrustworthy protestations on the other 
side. On the whole, the rebellion had the better 
prospect of retaining their support, since for the 
moment it was in practical possession of the Indian 
Temtory, with four regiments of Indians organized 
as the nucleus of a Confederate army. This, how- 
ever, was the highest stage of its success. No 
strong Confederate forces made their appearance ; 
no Confederate battles were won; the promised 
annuities did not arrive from the Confederate 
Treasury; and the faith and cooperation of the 
Indians began to wane. As elsewhere in the 
South, loyalty to the Union was not wholly ex- 
tinguished. A loyal Creek chief, Hopoeithleyohola, 
raised the banner of revolt against secession, gath- 
ered something over two thousand adherents, and 
fought several battles during the months of No- 



vember and December, 1861. It required all the 
available Indian forces in Confederate pay to sup- 
press and bold in check this armed demonstration 
in favor of the flag which, for half a century, 
had brought to the red men the voice of friendship 
and stated instalments of money and goods to re- 
deem the promise of old and solemn treaties. 

In addition to the danger in its intended path- 
way the proposed expedition encountered fatal 
obstacles in its very organization. Among the 
earliest calls for troops President Lincoln had 
given Senator James H. Lane authority to raise a 
brigade in Kansas. The regiments composing it 
contained much of that free and recklesfe fighting 
material of the frontier, which had been edu- 
cated by the Missouri border ruffians .to guerrilla 
methods. The necessity of defending the Kansas 
border against secession bushwhackers from Mis- 
souri kept these regiments at home and continued 
their predatory habits; and in their rapid forays 
they often failed to discriminate between friend 
and foe. Halleck, the new commander of the De- 
partment of the West, several times had occasion to 
complain of their mischief. He protested against 
Lane's appointment as brigadier-general. He not 
only disavowed the lawlessness committed by 
Lane's men, but issued orders to drive them from 
his department ; or, if caught, to disarm them and 
hold them prisoners. "They are no better," he 
wrote, "than a band of robbers; they cross the 
line, rob, steal, plunder, and burn whatever they 
can lay their hands upon. They disgrace the name 
and uniform of American soldiers and are driving 
good Union men into the ranks of the secession 

Chap. V. 

Halleck to 
Dec. 19, 
Dec. 27, 
1861. W. K. 
Vol. VIII., 
pp. «9, 450. 

Halleck to 
Jan. 18, 

1862. W. R. 

Vol. VIII., 
p. 607. 



Chap. V. 

Halleck to 

Jan. 20, 
1862. W. E. 
Vol. vrii., 

p. 509. 

Lincoln to 


of War, 

Jan. 31, 

1862. W. R. 

Vol. VIII., 

p. 538. 

army." President Lincoln saw that a substratum of 
personal prejudice lay under this somewhat harsh 
condemnation, which extended not merely to Lane's 
soldiers, but to the entire separate Texas expedition 
as well. Halleck complained of " movements hav- 
ing been governed by political expediency, and in 
many cases dkected by politicians in order to 
subserve particular interests." Lane was, indeed, 
chargeable with a selfish ambition in this pro- 
posed movement, and soon endeavored even to 
supplant Hunter. 

Lincoln, recognizing Lane's great energy and in- 
fluence in Kansas, had intended to make it tribu- 
tary to the Union cause, but he had no idea of 
giving him the superior direction or management. 
His letters show with what prudence, but also with 
what firmness, he interfered to regulate this distant 
personal entanglement. " It is my wish," he wrote, 
January 31, 1862, " that the expedition commonly 
called the ' Lane Expedition ' shall be, as much as 
has been promised at the Adjutant-General's office, 
under the supervision of General McClellan, and 
not any more. I have not intended, and do not 
now intend, that it shall be a great, exhausting 
affair, but a snug, sober column of 10,000 or 15,000. 
General Lane has been told by me many times that 
he is under the command of General Hunter, and 
assented to it as often as told. It was the distinct 
agreement between him and me, when I appointed 
him, that he was to be under Hunter." All Lane's 
efforts to set aside Hunter proved fruitless. Under 
date of February 10, 1862, Lincoln repeated his 
decision : " My wish has been and is to avail the 
Government of the services of both General Hunter 


and General Lane, and, so far as possible, to person- chap. v. 
ally oblige both. General Hunter is the senior offi- 
cer, and must command when they serve together ; 
though, in so far as he can, consistently with the 
public service and his own honor, oblige General 
Lane he will also oblige me. If they cannot come Lincoln to 
to an amicable understanding, General Lane must a?d™aife, 
report to General Hunter for duty, according to m2^ \v.'r. 
the rules, or decline the service." Naturally after p.' 551. ' 
this Lane lost his interest in the expedition, of 
which he had caused himself to be proclaimed the 
real leader and hero. Halleck's decided aversion 
to the whole scheme already rendered it practically 
useless, and other causes soon assisted to divert the 
forces gathered for the purpose to different desti- 
nations. It came officially to an end when, on 
March 11, 1862, Hunter's department was once 
more consolidated with Halleck's. 

Henry Wager HaUeck was born in Westernville, 
Oneida County, New York, January 15, 1815. He 
was educated at Union College, and entered the 
military academy at West Point, where he was 
graduated third in a class of thirty-one, and was 
made second lieutenant of engineers July 1, 1839. 
While yet a cadet he was employed at the academy 
as assistant professor of engineering. From the 
first he devoted himself with constant industry to 
the more serious studies of his profession. He had 
attained a first lieutenancy when the Mexican war 
broke out, and was sent to the Pacific coast. A 
variety of valuable services in the military and 
naval operations prosecuted there secured him the 
brevet of captain from May 1, 1847. On the con- 
quest of California by the United States forces, he 



Chap. v. 



Nov. 19, 

1861. W. E. 

Vol. VIII., 

p. 369. 

took part in the political organization of the new 
State, first as Secretary of State under the military 
Governors, and afterwards as leading member of the 
Convention which framed the Constitution under 
which California was admitted to the Union. He 
remained in the army and in charge of various en- 
gineering duties on the Pacific coast until August 
1, 1854, having been meanwhile promoted captain 
of engineers. At that date he resigned his com- 
mission to engage in civil pursuits. He became a 
member of a law firm, and was also interested in 
mines and railroads, when the outbreak of the 
Rebellion called him again into the military service 
of the Government. He had become not only 
practically accomphshed in his profession as a 
soldier, but also distinguished as a writer on mili- 
tary art and science. Halleck's high qualifications 
were well understood and appreciated by General 
Scott, at whose suggestion he was appointed major- 
general in the regular army, to date from August 
19, 1861, with orders to report himself at army 
headquarters in Washington. A phrase in one of 
Scott's letters, setting forth McClellan's disregard 
for his authority, creates an inference that the old 
general intended that Halleck should succeed him 
in chief command. But when the latter reached 
Washington, the confusion and disasters in the 
Department of the West were at their culmination, 
and urgent necessity required him to be sent thither 
to succeed Fremont. 

General Halleck arrived at St. Louis on Novem- 
ber 18, 1861, and assumed command on the 19th. 
His written instructions stated forcibly the reforms 
he was expected to bring about, and his earliest 


reports indicate that his difficulties had not been chap. v. 
overstated — irregularities in contracts ; great con- 
fusion in organization ; everywhere a want of arms 
and supplies ; absence of routine and discipline. 
Added to this was reported danger from the enemy. 
" I am satisfied," he telegraphed under date of Nov- 
ember 29, " that the enemy is operating in and 
against this State with a much larger force than 
was supposed when I left Washington, and also 
that a general insurrection is organizing in the 
counties near the Missouri Eiver, between Boon- 
viUe and Saint Joseph. A desperate effort will be 
made to supply and winter their troops in this Mocfel^in, 
State, so as to spare their own resources for a sum- i86i?^w?e. 

„ A . . • 1 J • Vol. VIII., 

mer campaign." An invasion was indeed in con- p. 392. 
templation, but rumor had magnified its available 
strength. General Price had, since the battle of 
Lexington, lingered in Southwestern Missouri, and 
was once more preparing for a northward march. 
His method of campaigning was peculiar, and 
needed only the minimum of organization and 
preparation. His troops were made up mainly of 
young, reckless, hardy Missourians, to whom a 
campaign was an adventure of pastime and excite- 
ment, and who brought, each man, his own horse, 
gun, and indispensable equipments and clothing. 
The usual burdens of an army commissariat and 
transportation were of little moment to these par- 
tisans, who started up as if by magic from every 
farm and thicket, and gathered their supplies wher- 
ever they went. To quote the language of one of 
the Missouri rebel leaders : " Our forces, to combat to'soiilna, 
or cut them off, would require only a haversack to i86i°V. e. 
where the enemy would require a wagon." The pp. m, eg'i 


CHAP. V. evil of the system was, that such forces vanished 
quite as rapidly as they assembled. The enthusi- 
astic squads with which Price had won his victory 
at Lexington were scattered among their homes 
and haunts. The first step of a campaign, there- 
fore, involved the gathering of a new army, and 
this proved not so easy in the opening storms of 
winter as it had in the fine midsummer weather. 
On the 26th of November, 1861, Price issued a 
call for fifty thousand men. The language of his 
proclamation, however, breathed more of despair 
than confidence. He reminded his adherents that 
only one in forty had answered to the former call. 
Price, ^°*^ ^^^^ "Boys and small property-holders have 
^'^tioD™'^ in the main fought the battles for the protection of 
i8h"^w°r. your property." He repeated many times, with 
pp° 096, 6%. emphasis : " I must have fifty thousand men." His 
prospects were far from encouraging. McCulloch, in 
a mood of stubborn disagreement, was withdrawing 
his army to Arkansas, where he went into winter 
quarters. Later on, when Price formally requested 
his cooperation, McCulloch as formally refused. 
For the moment the Confederate cause in South- 
western Missouri was languishing. Ex-Governor 
Jackson made a show of keeping it alive by calling 
the fugitive remnant of his rebel Legislature to- 
gether at Neosho, and with the help of his sole 
official relic — the purloined State Seal — enacting 
the well-worn farce of passing a secession ordi- 
nance, and making a military league with the Con- 
federate States. 

The Confederate Congress at Richmond re- 
sponded to the farce with an act to admit Mis- 
souri to the Confederacy. An act, of more promise 


at least, appropriating a million doUars to aid the chap. v. 

Confederate cause in that State, had been passed 

in the preceding August. Such small instalment 

of this fund, however, as was transmitted, failed ^poit*" 

even to pay the soldiers who, for their long service, ise^'^V. e. 

O 7 Y^j VIII., 

had not as yet " received a dime." In return, the p- tm- 

•' ' Davis 

Richmond authorities asked the transfer of Mis- ^''j^g^Jf'^l™' 
souri troops to the Confederate service; but with "01. tiil!' 
this request the rebel Missouri leaders were unable ^' '"' 
immediately to comply. When, under date of De- 
cember 30, 1861, ex-Governor Jackson complained "^^D^av"",*" 
of neglect and once more urged that Price be made isei^^'w. e. 
commander in Missouri, Jefferson Davis responded pp. ni, lih. 
sarcastically that not a regiment had been ten- -^^^^ 
dered, and that he could not appoint a general jan.'s^'Tsi! 
before he had troops for him. From all these viu.,p.7°3i. 
causes Price's projected winter campaign failed, pnce 
and he attributed the failure to McCuUoch's re- ^^^'^■^'■g^ 
fusaltohelphim. vo™.. 

The second branch of the rebel programme in 
Missouri, that of raising an insurrection north of 
the Missouri River, proved more effective. Hal- 
leck was scarcely in command when the stir and 
agitation of depredations and burning of bridges, 
by small squads of secessionists in disguise, was 
reported from various counties of Northern Mis- 
souri. Federal detachments went in pursuit, and 
the perpetrators as usual disappeared, only, how- 
ever, to break out with fresh outrages when quiet 
and safety had apparently been restored. It was 
soon evident that this was not merely a manifes- 
tation of neighborhood disloyalty, but that it was 
part of a deliberate system instigated by the prin- 
cipal rebel leaders. " Do you intend to regard men," 


Chap. V. wrote Price to Halleck, January 12, 1862, " whom 

I have specially dispatched to destroy roads, burn 

bridges, tear up culverts, etc., as amenable to an 

enemy's court martial, or will you have them to be 

w. E. tried as usual, by the proper authorities, according 

%'. m^ " to the statutes of the State ? " Halleck, who had 
placed the State under martial law to enable him 
to deal more effectually with this class of offenders, 
stated his authority and his determination, with 
distinct emphasis, in his reply of January 22, 1862 : 

You must be aware, general, that no orders of yours 
can save from punishment spies, marauders, robbers, in- 
cendiaries, guerrilla bands, etc., who violate the laws of 
war. You cannot give immunity to crime. But let us f ulty 
understand each other on this point. If you send armed 
forces, wearing the garb of soldiers and duly organized 
and enrolled as legitimate belligerents, to destroy rail- 
roads, bridges, etc., as a military act, we shaU kill them, if 
possible, in open warfare, or, if we capture them, we shall 
treat them as prisoners of war. But it is weU. understood 
that you have sent numbers of your adherents, in the garb 
of peaceful citizens and under false pretenses, through 
our lines into Northern Missouri, to rob and destroy the 
property of Union men and to burn and destroy railroad 
bridges, thus endangering the lives of thousands, and this, 
too, without any military necessity or possible military 
advantage. Moreover, peaceful citizens of Missouri, 
quietly working on their farms, have been instigated 
by your emissaries to take up arms as insurgents, and 
to rob and plunder and to commit arson and murder. 
They do not even act under the garb of soldiers, but 
under false pretenses and in the guise of peaceful citizens. 

Haiieckto ^^^ certainly will not pretend that men guilty of such 
jan'2^2 crimes, although specially " appointed and instructed by 

Toi vii'i^' •^°^'" ^^^ entitled to the rights and immunities of ordi- 
p.' 616. " nary prisoners of war. 

One important effect which Price hoped to pro- 
duce by the guerrilla rising he was instigating was 


to fill his army with recruits. " The most populous chap. v. 
and truest counties of the State," he wrote, "lie 
upon or north of the Missouri River. . . I sent a 
detachment of 1100 men to Lexington, which after 
remaining only a part of one day gathered together tcfpofk, 
about 2500 recruits, and escorted them in safety isS^^w^'e. 
to me at Osceola." His statement was partly cor- pp"729, 730. 
rect, but other causes contributed both to this partial 
success and the partial defeat which immediately 
followed. Just at the time this expedition went to 
Lexington, the various Federal detachments north 
of the Missouri River were engaged in driving a 
number of secession guerrilla bands southward 
across that stream. Halleek was directing the com- 
bined movements of the Union troops, and had 
stationed detachments of Pope's forces south of the 
Missouri River with the design of intercepting and 
capturing the fugitive bands. The failure of some 
of the reports to reach him disconcerted and partly 
frustrated his design. The earlier guerrilla parties 
which crossed at and near Lexington escaped and 
made their way to Price, but the later ones were 
intercepted and captured as Halleek had planned. 
"Colonel Davis came upon the enemy near Milford 
late this afternoon," reported Pope, December 19, 
" and, having driven in his pickets, assaulted him 
in force. A brisk skirmish ensued, when the enemy, 
finding himself surrounded and cut off, surrendered 
at discretion. One thousand three hundred pris- 
oners, including three colonels and seventeen cap- 
tains, 1000 stands of arms, 1000 horses, 65 wagons, 
tents, baggage, and supplies have fallen into our ^o Haifeck, 
hands. Our loss is two killed and eight wounded." isSfw^fe. 
On the next day he found his capture was stiU %'. m. " 



Chap. V. 

to Halleci, 

Dec. 20, 

1861. W. R. 

Vol. VIII., 

p. 452. 

Dec. 25, 

1861. W. E. 

Vol. VIII., 
p. 462. 

to Kelton, 
Jan. 5, 1862. 

W. E. 
Vol. VIII., 

p. 489. 

larger, and he telegraphed from Sedalia, "Just 
arrived here. Troops much embarrassed with nearly 
2000 prisoners and great quantity of captured 

In anticipation of the capture or dispersion of 
these Northwestern detachments of rebels, Halleck 
had directed the collection of an army at and about 
EoUa with a view to move in force against Price. 
On December 25, Brigadier-General Samuel R. 
Curtis was assigned to the command of the Union 
troops to operate in the Southwestern District of 
Missouri. Some ten thousand men were gathered 
to form his column, and the possibility of a short 
and successful campaign was before him had he 
known Price's actual condition. But the situ- 
ation was one of difficulty. The railroad ended at 
EoUa ; Springfield, the supposed location of Price's 
camp, was a hundred and twenty miles further to 
the Southwest, by bad roads through a mountainous 
country. Rebel sympathy was strong throughout 
the whole region, and the favoring surroundings 
enabled Price to conceal his designs and magnify 
his numbers. Rumors came that he intended to 
fight at Springfield, and the estimates of his 
strength varied from 20,000 to 40,000. 

The greatest obstacle to pursuit was the sever- 
ity of the winter weather ; nevertheless, the Union 
soldiers bore their privations with admirable pa- 
tience and fortitude, and Halleck urged a continu- 
ance of the movement through every hindrance 
and discouragement. "I have ordered General 
Curtis to move forward," he wrote to McClellan, 
January 14th, " with all his infantry and artillery. 
His force will not be less than 12,000. The enemy 


is reported to have between thirty -five and forty chap. v. 
guns. General Curtis has only twenty-four, but I 
send him six pieces to-morrow, and will send six 
more in a few days. I also propose placing a 
strong reserve at RoUa, which can be sent forward 
if necessary. The weather is intensely cold, and 
the troops, supplied as they are with very inferior 
clothing, blankets, and tents, must suffer greatly 
in a winter campaign, and yet I see no way of 
avoiding it. Unless Price is driven from the State 
insurrections will continually occur in all the Mccidia^n 
central and northern counties, so as to prevent i8m^°w*'e. 
the withdrawal of our troops." A few days later ^ p! Jol^" 
(January 18, 1862), Halle ck wrote to Curtis that 
he was about to reenforce him with an entire di- 
vision from Pope's army, increasing his strength 
to fifteen thousand ; that he would send him mit- 
tens for his soldiers ; " get as many hand-mills as 
you can for grinding corn. . . Take the bull by 
the horns. I will back you in such forced requi- 
sitions when they become necessary for supplying ^curtS*" 
the forces. We must have no failure in this move- iJ^'^'w.'b.. 
ment against Price. It must be the last." And once p.' m. " 
more, on January 27, he repeated his urgent ad- 
monition : " There is a strong pressure on us for 
troops, and aU that are not absolutely necessary 
here must go elsewhere. Pope's command is en- j^j^ 
tirely broken up ; 4000 in Davis's reserve and 6000 i86'2^°w!'e. 
ordered to Cairo. Push on as rapidly as possible, ^ p! Jw}'' 
and end the matter with Price." 

This trying winter campaign, led by General 
Curtis, though successful in the end, did not ter- 
minate so quickly as General Halleck had hoped. 
Leaving the heroic Western soldiers camping and 


CHAP. V. scouting in the snows and cutting winds of the 
Missouri hills and prairies, we must call attention 
to other events of the Western Department. "While 
Halleck was gratifying the Government and the 
Northern public by the ability and vigor of his 
measures, one point of his administration had ex- 
cited vehement criticism. His military instinct 
and method were so thorough that they caused 
him to treat too lightly the political aspects of the 
great conflict of which he was directing so large a 
share. Fremont's treatment of the slavery ques- 
tion had been too radical ; Halleck's now became 
too conservative. It is not probable that this grew 
out of his mere wish to avoid the error of his pre- 
decessor, but out of his own personal conviction 
that the issue must be entirely eliminated from the 
mUitary problem. He had noted the difficulties 
and discussions growing out of the dealings of 
the army with fugitive slaves, and, hoping to 
rid himself of a continual dilemma, one of his 
first acts after assuming command was to issue 
his famous Greneral Order No. 3 (November 20, 
1861), the first paragraph of which ran as fol- 
lows: "It has been represented that important 
information respecting the numbers and condition 
of our forces is conveyed to the enemy by means 
of fugitive slaves who are admitted within our 
lines. In order to remedy this evil, it is directed 
that no such persons be hereafter permitted to 
enter the lines of any camp or of any forces on the 
^ j^ march, and that any now within such lines be 

^p-'Ito"" immediately excluded therefrom." 

This language brought upon him the indignant 
protest of the combined antislavery sentiment of 



the Nortla. He was berated in newspapers and 
denounced in Congress, and the violence of public 
condemnation threatened seriously to impair his 
military usefulness. He had indeed gone too far. 
The country felt, and the army knew, that so far 
from being generally true that negroes carried 
valuable information to the enemy, the very 
reverse was the rule, and that the " contrabands " 
in reality constituted one of the most important 
and trustworthy sources of knowledge to Union 
commanders — a medium of communication which, 
later in the war, came to be jocosely designated the 
" grape-vine telegraph." HaUeck soon found him- 
self put on the defensive, and wrote an explanatory 
letter which was printed in the newspapers. A 
little later he took occasion to define officially his 
intention : " The object of these orders is to pre- 
vent any person in the army from acting in the 
capacity of negro-catcher or negro-stealer. The 
relation between the slave and his master, or pre- 
tended master, is not a matter to be determined by 
military officers, except in the single case provided 
for by Congress. This matter in all other cases 
must be decided by the civil authorities. One ob- 
ject in keeping fugitive slaves out of our camp is 
to keep clear of all such questions. . . Orders 
No. 3 do not apply to the authorized private servants 
of officers nor the negroes employed by proper 
authority in the camps. It apphes only to fugitive 
slaves. The prohibition to admit them within our 
lines does not prevent the exercise of all proper 
offices of humanity, in giving them food and cloth- 
ing outside, where such offices are necessary to 
prevent suffering." 

Chap. V. 

HaUeck to 

Dec. 8, 1861. 





p. 330. 

Halleck to 
Dec. 26, 

1861. W. E. 

Vol. vin., 

p. 465. 


Chap. V. It wiU be remembered that the Missouri State 
Convention in the month of July appointed and 
inaugurated a provisional State government. This 
action was merely designed to supply a temporary 
executive authority until the people could elect 
^ jou?Sli?° new loyal State officers, which election was ordered 
■^"p^'so."' to be held on the first Monday in November. The 
Convention also, when it finished the work of its 
summer session, adjourned to meet on the third 
™^3.' Monday in December, 1861, but political and mili- 
tary affairs remained in so unsettled a condition 
during the whole autumn that anything like effec- 
tive popular action was impracticable. The Con- 
vention was therefore called together in a third 
session at an earlier date (October 11, 1861), when 
it wisely adopted an ordinance postponing the 
State election for the period of one year, and for 
continuing the officers of the provisional govern- 
ment until their successors should be duly ap- 
pointed. With his tenure of power thus prolonged, 
Governor Gamble, also by direction of the Conven- 
tion, proposed to the President to raise a special 
force of Missouri State militia for service within 
the State during the war there, but to act with the 
United States troops in military operations within 
the State or when necessary to its defense. 

President Lincoln accepted the plan upon the con- 
dition that whatever United States officer might be 
in command of the Department of the West should 
LiBcota, ^^^^ ^® commissioned by the Governor to command 
^'menr ^^® Mlssouri State militia ; and that if the Presi- 
i86i!°V.'e. dent changed the former, the Governor should 
pi 456. ■' make the corresponding change, in order that 
conflict of authority or of military plans might be 






W. R. 

Vol. XIII., 

p. 7. 

avoided. This agreement was entered into be- chap. v. 
tween President Lincoln and Governor Gamble on 
November 6, and on November 27 Brigadier-Gen- 
eral J. M. Schofleld received orders from HaUeck 
to raise, organize, and command this special militia 
corps. The plan was attended with reasonable 
success, and by the 15th of April, 1862, reported 
General Schofleld, " an active, efficient force of 
13,800 men was placed in the fleld," nearly all ibid.,p.8. 
of cavalry. The raising and organizing of this 
force during the winter and spring of 1861-62 
produced a certain degree of local military activ- 
ity just at the season when the partisan and 
guerrilla operations of rebel sympathizers were 
necessarily impeded or wholly suspended by severe 
weather; and this, joined with the vigorous ad- 
ministration of General Halleck, and the fact that 
Curtis was chasing the army of Price out of South- 
west Missouri, gave a somewhat delusive appear- 
ance of quiet and order throughout the State. We 
shall see how this security was rudely disturbed 
during the summer of 1862 by local efforts and 
uprisings, though the rebels were not able to bring 
about any formidable campaign of invasion, and 
Missouri as a whole remained immovable in her 
military and political adherence to the Union. 

With a view still further to facilitate the restora- 
tion of public peace, the State Convention at the 
same October session extended an amnesty to -re- isei. 
pentant rebels, in an ordinance which provided 
that any person who would make and flle a written 
oath to support the Federal and State Govern- 
ments, declaring that he would not take up arms 
against the United States or the provisional gov- 

VoL. v.— 7 


Chap. V. ernment of Missouri, nor give aid and comfort to 
their enemies during the present civil war, should 
be exempt from arrest and punishment for previ- 
ous rebellion. Many persons took this oath, and 
doubtless kept it with sincere faith. But it seems 
no less certain that many others who took it so 
persistently violated both its spirit and letter as 
to render it practically of no service as an external 
test of allegiance to the Union. In the years of 
local hatred and strife which ensued, oaths were 
so recklessly taken and so willfully violated that a 
ceremony of adjuration became, in the public esti- 
mation, rather a sign of suspicion than an assur- 
ance of good faith. It grew into one of the stand- 
ing jests of the camps that when a Union soldier 
found a rattlesnake, his comrades would instantly 
propose, with mock gravity, "Administer the oath 
to him, boys, and let him go." 



THE President was Mghly gratified when Hal- 
leck wrote from the Department of Missouri, 
under date of December 19, to McClellan, who was 
yet Greneral-in-Chief, that the disciphne- of the 
troops was improving ; that sundry minor expedi- 
tions had been successful ; that Price would be 
ruined in Missouri by another retreat ; and that he 
hoped soon to be able to attack him under favoring 
conditions ; also that he was gradually curing the 
serious disorders in military administration be- 
queathed him by Fremont. " An excellent letter," 
wrote Lincoln, as an endorsement, though he also 
noted his regret that Halleck was unfavorably im- 
pressed with Lane on the Kansas border, from 
whose cooperation under Hunter, with a quasi- 
independent column, the President had hoped for 
substantial benefit. But the prospect at Washing- 
ton was not so encouraging. Except to organize, 
drill, and review the Army of the Potomac, to 
make an unfruitful reconnaissance, and to suffer 
the lamentable Ball's Bluff disaster, McClellan had 
nothing to show for his five months of local, and 
two months of chief command. The splendid 
autumn weather, the wholesome air, and dry roads 


Halleck to 
Dec. 19, 
1861, and 
Dec. 27, 
1861. W. R. 
Vol. VIII., 
pp. i48-450. 


Chap. VI. had come and gone. Rain, snow, and mud, crip- 
pling clogs to military movements in all lands and 
epochs, were to be expected for a quarter, if not 
for half, the coming year. Besides all this, McClel- 
lan had faUen seriously ill. With most urgent 
need of early action, every prospect of securing it 
Lincoln Seemed to be thus cut off. In this dilemma, Lin- 
to HaSeek colu tumcd to the Western commanders. " Gen- 
ik"'-4]i eral McClellan is sick," he telegraphed to Halleck 
^pM"- on the last day of the year. "Are General Buell 
and yourself in concert?" The foUowing day he 
Lincoln repeated his inquiry, or rather his prompting sug- 
toBueuand gegtiou that, McClellau being incapable of work, 
jan^i,^i8^2. g^g|2 and Halleck should at once establish a vig- 
'^p.'sle"' orous and hearty cooperation. Their replies were 
not specially promising. "There is no arrange- 
ment between General Halleck and myself," re- 
sponded Buell, adding that he depended on McClel- 
lan for instructions to this end; while Halleck 
said, "I have never received a word from Gen- 
eral Buell. I am not ready to cooperate with him," 
adding in his turn that he had written to Mc- 
Clellan, and that too much haste would ruin every- 
thing. Plainly, therefore, the military machine, 
both East and West, was not only at a complete 
standstill, but was without a programme. 

Of what avail then were McClellan's office and 
function of general-in-chief if such a contingency 
revealed either his incapacity or his neglect ? The 
force of this question is immensely increased when 
we see how in the same episode McClellan's acts 
followed Lincoln's suggestions. However silent 
and confiding in the skill and energy of his gen- 
erals, the President had studied the military situa- 


tion with unremitting diligence. In Ms telegram 
of December 31 to Halleek, he started a pregnant 
inquiry. "When he [Buell] moves on Bowling ^HaD'^t? 
Green, what hinders it being reenforced from Co- i86?.''''w!e. 
lumbus ? " And he asked the same question at the v. sii. " 
same time of Buell. Halleek seems to have had no 
answer to make; Buell sent the only reply that 
was possible : " There is nothing to prevent Bowl- 
ing Green being reenforced from Columbus if a * 
military foi'ce is not brought to bear on the latter y^^^^f^^' 
place." The sequel proves that Lincoln was not yj-L^p^^jj. 
content to permit this know-nothing and do-noth- ^'g^^^^^ 
ing policy to continue. " I have just been with •^'^a?cienf ' 
General McClellan, and he is much better," he wrote gatoon p. 
the day after New Year's; and in this interview p^m 
the necessity for action and the telegrams from the 
Western commanders were fully discussed, as be- 
comes evident from the fact that the following day 
McClellan wrote a letter to Halleek containing an 
earnest suggestion to remedy the neglect and need 
pointed out by Lincoln's dispatch of December 31. 
In this letter McClellan advised an expedition up 
the Cumberland River, a demonstration on Colum- 
bus, and a feint on the Tennessee River, all for the to Haiie™, 
purpose of preventing reenforcements from joining "^'^ Ve.'^^' 
Buckner and Johnston at Bowling Green, whom pp?627, 528. 
BueU was preparing to attack. 

Meanwhile Lincoln's dispatch of inquiry had re- 
newed the attention, and perhaps aroused the 
ambition, of . Buell. He and Halleek had, after 
Lincoln's prompting, interchanged dispatches about 
concerted action. Halleek reported a withdrawal 
of troops from Missouri " almost impossible " ; to 
which Buell replied that " the great power of the 


Chap. VI. rebellion in the West is arrayed " on a line from 
Columbus to Bowling Green, and that two gun- 
boat expeditions with a support of twenty thousand 
nSueok, men should attack its center by way of the Cum- 
'^wf'R^'^' berland and Tennessee rivers, and that " whatever 
pp. 628, 629. is done should be done speedily, within a few days." 
Halleck, however, did not favorably entertain the 
proposition. His reply discussed an altogether 
different question. He said it would be madness 
for him with his forces to attempt any serious 
operation against Camp Beauregard or Colum- 
bus, and that if Buell's Bowling G-reen movement 
^bS,*" required his help, it ought to be delayed a few 
jan^6,^i862. ^gg]^g when he could probably furnish some 

Vol VII J. ./ 

p.'633. " troops. Leaving altogether unanswered Buell's 
suggestion for the movement up the Cumberland 
and Tennessee, Halleck stated his strong disap- 
proval of the Bowling Green movement, and on the 
same day he repeated these views a little more 
fully in a letter to the President. Premising that 
he could not then withdraw any troops from Mis- 
souri, " without risking the loss of this State," he 
said, " I know nothing of General Buell's intended 
operations, never having received any information 
in regard to the general plan of campaign. If it 
be intended that his column shall move on Bowling 
Green, while another moves from Cairo or Paducah 
on Columbus or Camp Beauregard, it will be a 
repetition of the same strategic error which pro- 
duced the disaster of Bull Run. To operate on 
exterior lines against an enemy occupying a cen- 
tral position will fail, as it always has failed, in 
ninety-nine cases out of a hundred. It is con- 
demned by every military authority I have ever 


read. G-eneral Buell's army and the forces at Pa- chap. vi. 
ducah occupy precisely the same position in rela- ^^00"" 
tion to each other and to the enemy as did the "'"wf e^''^' 
armies of McDowell and Patterson before the battle pp^wa, 533. 
of Bull Eun." 

Lincoln, finding in these replies but a continua- 
tion not only of the delay, but also of the want 
of plans, and especially of energetic joint action 
which had thus far in a majority of cases marked 
the operations of the various commanders, was 
not disposed further to aUow matters to remain 
in such unfruitful conditions. Under his prompt- 
ing McClellan, on this same 6th of January, wrote 
to Buell : " Halleck, from his own account, will not 
soon be in a condition to support properly a move- 
ment up the Cumberland. Why not make the to'sue™ 
movement independently of and without waiting ^w.'e. 
for that ? " And on the next day Lincoln followed p-' ssi. " 
this inquiry with a still more energetic monition : 
" Please name as early a day as you safely can on 
or before which you can be ready to move south- 
ward in concert with Major-Greneral HaUeck. De- 
lay is ruining us, and it is indispensable for me to ^^Bu^n,*" 
have something definite. I send a like dispatch to w. 'e. 
Major-General HaUeck." This peremptory order p.'ess. ' 
seems to have brought nothing except a reply from Haueck 
HaUeck: "I have asked G-eneral BueU to desig- ]°^Ti'"62 
nate a day for a demonstration to assist him. It '"w™!!"**' 
is all I can do tUl I get arms." Three days later, p.' 535. " 
HaUeck's already quoted letter of the 6th reached 
Washington by mail, and after its perusal the 
President endorsed upon it, with a heart-sickness dOTsementi 
easily discernible in the words : " The within is a iseli^w^E. 
copy of a letter just received from General Halleck. p.' ess. " 



Chap. VI. 

Halleck to 


Jan. 6, 1862. 

W. E. 

Vol. VII., 

pp. 533, 534. 

It is exceedingly discouraging. As everywhere 
else, nothing can be done." 

Nevertheless, something was being done; very 
little at the naoment, it is true, but enough to form 
the beginning of momentous results. On the same 
day on which Halleck had vn-itten the discourag- 
ing letter commented upon by the President, he 
had also transmitted to Grrant, at Cairo, the direc- 
tion : " I wish you to make a demonstration in force 
on Mayfield and in the direction of Murray." The 
object was, as he further explained, to prevent 
reenf or cements being sent to Buckner at Bowling 
Green. He was to threaten Camp Beauregard and 
Murray, to create the impression that not only was 
Dover (Fort Donelson) to be attacked, but that a 
great army to be gathered in the West was to sweep 
down towards Nashville, his own column being 
merely an advance-guard. Flag-officer Foote was 
to assist by a gunboat demonstration. " Be very- 
careful, however," added Halleck, "to avoid a 
battle; we are not ready for that; but cut off 
detached parties, and give your men a little ex- 
perience in skirmishing." If this order had gone 
to an unwilling or negligent officer, he could 
have found in his surrounding conditions abun- 
dant excuse for evasion and non-compliance. 
There was at Cairo, as at every other army post, 
large or small, lack of officers, of organization, of 
arms, of equipments, of transportation, of that 
multitude of things considered necessary to the 
efficiency of moving troops. But in the "West the 
sudden increase of armies brought to command, 
and to direction and management, a large propor- 
tion of civilians, lacking methodical instruction and 


experience, whicli was without question a serious chap. vi. 
defect, but which left them free to invent and 
adopt whatever expedients circumstances might 
suggest, or which rendered them satisfied and will- 
ing to enter upon undertakings amid a want of 
preparation and means, which better information 
might have led them to think indispensable. 

The detailed reports and orders of the expedition 
we are describing clearly indicate these latter char- 
acteristics. We learn from them that the weather 
was bad, the roads heavy, quartermaster's depart- 
ment and transportation deficient, and gunboats 
without adequate crews. Yet nowhere does it ap- 
pear that these things were treated as impediments. 
Halleck's instructions, dated January 6, were re- 1862. 
ceived by Grant on the morning of the 8th, and his 
answer was, that immediate preparations were 
being made for carrying them out, and that Flag- 
officer Andrew H. Foote would cooperate with 
three gunboats. "The continuous rains for the 
last week or more," says Grrant, "have rendered the 
roads extremely bad, and will necessarily make our 
movement slow. This, however, will operate worse ^.q Hauect, 
upon the enemy, if he should come out to meet us, J^^s,^*''^- 
than upon us." The movement began on the even- pp"637, ssk 
ing of January 9, and its main delay occurred 
through Halleck's orders. It was fully resumed on 
the 12th. Brigadier-General John A. McClernand, 
with five thousand men, marched southward, gen- 
erally parallel to the Mississippi River, to Mayfield, 
midway between Fort Henry and Columbus, and 
pushed a reconnaissance close up to the latter 
place. Brigadier-General C. F. Smith, starting 
from Paducah, marched a strong column southward. 

to Kelton, 

Jan. 14, 
1862. W. E. 


CHAP. vr. generally parallel to the Tennessee River, to Callo- 
way near Fort Henry. Foote and Grant, with three 
gunboats, two of them new ironclads, ascended 
the Tennessee to Fort Henry, drew the fire of the 

pp^m^mL fort, and threw several shells into the works. 

We need not describe the routes, the precautions, 
the marching and countermarching to mystify the 
enemy. While the rebels were yet expecting a fur- 
ther advance, the several detachments were already 
well on their return. " The expedition," says Grrant, 
" if it had no other effect, served as a fine recon- 
naissance." But it had more positive results. Fort 
Henry and Columbus were thoroughly alarmed, and 
drew in their outposts, while the Union forces 
learned from inspection that the route offered a 
feasible line of march to attack and invest Colum- 
bus, and demonstrated the inherent weakness and 
vulnerability of Fort Henry. This, be it remem- 
bered, was done with raw forces and without prep- 
aration, but with officers and men responding alike 
promptly to every order and executing their task 
more than cheerfully, even eagerly, with such means 
as were at hand when the order came. " The recon- 
naissance thus made," reports MeClernand, " com- 
pleted a march of one hundred and forty miles by 
the cavalry and seventy-five miles by the infantry 
over icy or miry roads, during a most inclement 
season." He further reports that the circum- 
stances of the case "prevented me from taking, 
on leaving Cairo, the five days' supply of rations 
Mccier- ^^^ forage directed by the commanding officer 
Report, of this district J hence the necessity of an early 

i862*°w.*E. resort to other sources of supply. None other pre- 
"p'.Ti. " sented but to quarter upon the enemy or to pur- 


chase from loyal citizens. I accordingly resorted chap. vi. 
to both, expedients as I had opportunity." Lincoln's 
prompting did not end with merely having pro- 
duced this reconnaissance. The President's patience 
was well-nigh exhausted ; and while his uneasiness 
drove him to no act of rashness, it caused him to 
repeat his admonitions and suggestions. In addi- 
tion to his telegrams and letters to the Western 
commanders between December 31 and January 6, 
he wrote to both on January 13 to point out how 1862. 
advantage might be taken of the military condition 
as it then existed. Halleck had emphasized the 
danger of moving on " exterior lines " and insisted 
that it was merely repeating the error committed 
at Bull Eun, and would as inevitably lead to dis- 
aster. Lincoln in his letter showed that the defeat 
at Bull Run did not result from movement on ex- 
terior lines, but from failure to use exterior lines 
with judgment and concert ; and he further illus- 
trated how the Western armies might now, by 
judicious cooperation, secure important military 

My dear Sir : Your dispatch of yesterday is received, 
in whicli you say : " I have received your letter and Gen- 
eral McClellan's, and will at once devote all my efforts to 
your views and his." In the midst of my many cares, I 
have not seen nor asked to see General McClellan's letter 
to you. For my own views, I have not offered, and do not 
now offer, them as orders ; and while I am glad to have 
them respectfully considered, I would blame you to fol- 
low them contrary to your own clear judgment, unless I 
should put them in the form of orders. As to General 
McClellan's views, you understand your duty in regard to 
them better than I do. With this preliminary 1 state my 
general idea of this war to be that we have the greater 
numbers, and the enemy has the greater facility of con- 



Chap. VI. centrating forces upon points of collision ; that we must 
fail unless we can find some way of making our advantage 
an overmatch for his ; and that this can only be done by 
menacing him with superior forces at different points at 
the same time, so that we can safely attack one or both if 
he makes no change ; and if he weakens one to strengthen 
the other, forbear to attack the strengthened one, but seize 
and hold the weakened one, gaining so much. To illus- 
trate : Suppose last summer, when Winchestet ran away to 
reenf orce Manassas, we had forborne to attack Manassas, 
but had seized and held Winchester. I mention this to il- 
lustrate and not to criticize. I did not lose confidence in 
McDowell, and I think less harshly of Patterson than some 
others seem to. In application of the general rule I am sug- 
gesting, every particular case will have its modifying cir- 
cumstances, among which the most constantly present 
and most difQeult to meet will be the want of perfect 
knowledge of the enemy's movements. This had its part 
in the Bull Run case ; but worse in that case was the ex- 
piration of the terms of the three months' men. Apply- 
ing the principle to your case, my idea is that Halleck 
shall menace Columbus and "down river" generally, while 
you menace Bowling G-reen and East Tennessee. If the 
enemy shall concentrate at Bowling Green do not retire 
from his front, yet do not fight him there either, but seize 
Columbus and East Tennessee, one or both, left exposed 
by the concentration at Bowling Green. It is a matter 
of no small anxiety to me, and one which I am sure you 
wiU not overlook, that the East Tennessee line is so long 
and over so bad a road. 

This letter was addressed to Buell, but a copy of 
it was also sent to Halleck. Buell made no reply, 
but Halleck sent an indirect answer, a week later, 
in a long letter to General McClellan under date of 
January 20. Tlie communication is not a model 
of correspondence, when we remember that it em- 
anated from a trained writer upon military science. 
It is long and somewhat rambling; it finds fault 
with politics and politicians in war, in CAddent igno- 

IJncoln to 


Jan. 13, 

1862. W. R. 

Vol. vri., 

pp. 928, 929. 



ranee of both politics and politicians. It charges 
that past want of success "is attributable to the 
politicians rather than to the generals " in plain con- 
tradiction of the actual facts. It condemns " pepper- 
box strategy" and recommends detached operations 
in the same breath. The more noticeable point of 
the letter is that while reiterating that the General- 
in-Chief had furnished no general plan, and while 
the principal commanders had neither unity of 
views nor concert of action, it ventures, though 
somewhat feebly, to recommend a combined system 
of operations for the "West. " The idea of moving 
down the Mississippi by steam," says Halleek, in 
this letter, " is, in my opinion, impracticable, or at 
least premature. It is not a proper line of opera- 
tions, at least now. A much more feasible plan is 
to move up the Cumberland and Tennessee, mak- 
ing Nashville the first objective point. This would 
turn Columbus and force the abandonment of Bowl- 
ing Green. . . This line of the Cumberland or 
Tennessee is the great central line of the Western 
theater of war, with the Ohio below the mouth of 
Green River as the base, and two good navigable 
rivers extending far into the interior of the theater 
of operations. But the plan should not be at- 
tempted without a large force, not less than sixty 
thousand effective men." 

The idea was by no means new. BueU had ten- 
tatively suggested it to McCleUan, as early as No- 
vember 27; and had again specifically elaborated 
it " as the most important strategical point in the 
whole field of operations " to McCleUan on Decem- 
ber 29, and as the " center " of the rebellion front 
in the West to Halleek on January 3. Yet, recog- 

Chap. VI. 

Halleek to 

Jan. 20, 
1862. W. E. 
Vol. VIII., 
pp. 608-511. 


BueU to 


Nov. 27 and 

Dec. 29, 



to Halleek, 

Jan. 3, 1862. 

W. R. 

Vol. VII., 

pp. 461, 621, 

628, 629. 


Chap. VI. nizing this line as the enemy's chief weakness, 
McClellan at Washington, Buell at Louisville, 
and Halleck at St. Louis, holding the President's 
unlimited trust and authority, had allowed nearly 
two months to elapse, directing the Government 
power to other objects, to the neglect, not alone 
of military success, but of plans of cooperation, 
of counsel, of intention to use this great and 
recognized military advantage, until the country 
was fast losing confidence and even hope. Even 
now Halleck did not propose immediately to put 
his theory into practice. Like Buell, he was call- 
ing for more troops for the " pohticians " to supply. 
It is impossible to guess when he might have been 
ready to move on his great strategic line, if sub- 
ordinate officers, more watchful and enterprising, 
had not in a measure forced the necessity upon his 



THE opening of the year 1862 brought stirring chap. vii. 
events to the armies of the West, and in 
their action the name of Greneral Grant begins to 
acquire a special prominence and value. In the 
early stage of military organization in the West, 
when so many volunteer colonels were called to 
active duty in the field, the West Point education 
of Grant and his practical campaign training in the 
Mexican war made themselves immediately felt 
and appreciated at the department headquarters. 
His usefulness and superiority were evinced by the 
clearness and brevity of his correspondence, the 
correctness of routine reports and promptness of 
their transmission, the pertinence and practical 
quality of his suggestions, the readiness and fer- 
tility of expedient with which he executed orders. 
Any one reading over his letters of this first period 
of his military service is struck by the fact that 
through him something was always accomplished. 
There was absence of excuse, complaint, or delay ; 
always the report of a task performed. If his 
means or supplies were imperfect, he found or 
improvised the best available substitute; if he 
could not execute the full requirement, he per- 



Chap. VII. formed so mTicli of it as was possible. He always 
had an opinion, and that opinion was positive, in- 
telligible, practical. We find therefore that his 
allotted tasks from the first continually rose in im- 
portance. He gained in authority and usefulness 
not by solicitation or intrigue, but by services 
rendered. He was sent to more and more difficult 
duties, to larger supervision, to heavier responsi- 
bilities. From guarding a station at Mexico on the 
North Missouri EaUroad, to protecting a railroad 
terminus near Ironton in Southeast Missouri ; from 
there to brief inspection duty at Jeffprson City, 
then to the command of the military district of 
Southeast Missouri ; finally to the command of the 
great military depot and rendezvous at Cairo, Ill- 
inois, with its several outlying posts and districts, 
and the supervision of its complicated details about 
troops, arms, and supplies to be collected and for- 
warded in all directions. Clearly it was not chance 
which brought him to such duties, but his fitness to 
perform them. It was from the vantage-ground of 
this enlarged command that he had checkmated 
the rebel occupation of Columbus by seizing Padu- 
cah and Smithland. And from Cairo he also or- 
ganized and led his first command in field fighting, 
at what is known as the battle of Belmont. 

Just before Fremont was relieved, and while he 
was in the field in nominal pursuit of Price, he 
had ordered Grant to clear Southeastern Missouri 
of guerrillas, with the double view of restoring 
local authority and preventing reenforcements to 
Price. Movements were progressing to this end 
when it became apparent that the rebel stronghold 
at Columbus was preparing to send out a column. 



Grant organized an expedition to counteract this 
design, and on tlie evening of November 6 left isei. 
Cairo witli about 3000 men, on transports, under 
convoy of two g-unboats, and steamed down the 
river. Upon information gained while on his route 
he determined to break up a rebel camp at Bel- 
mont Landing, on the Missouri shore opposite 
Columbus, as the best means of making his ex- 
pedition effective. On the morning of the 7th he 
landed his troops at Hunter's Point, three miles 
above Belmont, and marched to a favorable place 
for attack back of the rebel encampment, which 
was situated in a large open field and was pro- 
tected on the land side by a line of abatis. By 
the time Grant reached his position the rebel camp, 
originally consisting of a single regiment, had been 
reenforced by five regiments from Columbus under 
General PiUow. A deliberate battle with about 
equal forces ensued. Though the Confederate line 
courageously contested the ground, the Union line, 
steadily advancing, swept the rebels back, pene- 
trating the abatis, and gaining the camp of the 
enemy, who in disorder took shelter under the steep 
river bank. Grant's troops had gained a complete 
and substantial victory, but they now frittered it 
away by a disorderly exultation. The record does 
not show who was responsible for the unmilitary 
conduct, but it quickly brought its retribution. 
Before the Unionists were aware of it. General 
Polk had sent an additional reenforeement of 
several regiments across the river and hurriedly 
marched them to cut off the Federal retreat, which 
instead of an orderly march from the battlefield 
became a hasty scramble to get out of danger. 
Vol. v.— 8 


CHAP. VII. Grant himself, unaware that the few companies 
left as a guard near the landing had already- 
embarked, remained on shore to find them, and 
encountered instead the advancing rebel line. Dis- 
covering his mistake he rode back to the landing, 
M.F. Force, where "his horse slid down the river bank on its 
Hemyto hauuches and trotted on board a transport over a 

p- 23. ' plank thrust out for him." Belmont was a drawn 
battle ; or rather it was first a victory for the Fed- 
erals and then a victory for the Confederates. The 
courage and the loss were nearly equal : 79 killed 
and 289 wounded on the Union side ; 105 killed and 

md. 419 wounded on the Confederate side. Brigadier- 
Greneral McClernand, second in command in the 
battle of Belmont, was a fellow-townsman of the 
President, and to him Lincoln wrote the following 
letter of thanks and encouragement to the troops 
engaged : 

This is not an official but a social letter. You have 
had a battle, and without being able to judge as to the 
precise measure of its value, I think it is safe to say that 
you, and all with you, have done honor to yourselves and 
the flag, and service to the country. Most gratefully do 
I thank you and them. In my present position, I must 
care for the whole nation ; but I hope it will be no injus- 
tice to any other State for me to indulge a Httle home 
pride that Illinois does not disappoint us. I have just 
closed a long interview with Mr. Washburne, in which he 
has detailed the many difficulties you, and those with 
you, labor under. Be assured we do not forget or neglect 
you. Much, very much, goes undone; but it is be- 
cause we have not the power to do it faster than we do. 
Some of your forces are without arms, but the same is 
true here, and at every other place where we have con- 
siderable bodies of troops. The plain matter of fact is, 
our good people have rushed to the rescue of the Govern- 
ment faster than the Government can find arms to put 


into their hands. It would be agreeable to each division of chap. vii. 
the army to know its own precise destination ; but the Gov- 
ernment cannot immediately, nor inflexibly at any time, 
determine as to aU ; nor, if determined, can it tell its 
friends without, at the same time, telling its enemies. ■'"Sccier-" 
We kaow you do aU as wisely and well as you can ; and jj^^^w 
you will not be deceived if you conclude the same is true isei. ms. 
of us. Please give my respects and thanks to all. 

Belmont having been a mere episode, it drew 
after it no further movement in that direction. 
Q-rant and his command resumed their routine 
work of neighborhood police and observation. 
Bnell and Halleck, both coming to their depart- 
ments as new commanders shortly afterwards, were 
absorbed with difficulties at other points. Seces- 
sion was not yet quieted in Kentucky. The Union 
troops at Cairo, Padueah, Smithland, and other 
river towns yet stood on the defensive, fearing 
rebel attack, rather than preparing to attack rebels. 
Columbus and Bowling Grreen were the principal 
Confederate camps, and attracted and received the 
main attention of the Union conimanders. The 
first noteworthy occurrence following Belmont, 
as well as the beginning of the succession of bril- 
liant Union victories which distinguished the early 
months of the year 1862, was the battle of Mill 
Springs in Eastern Kentucky. The earnest desire 
of President Lincoln and Q-eneral McCleUan that a 
Union column should be sent to seize and hold 
East Tennessee, and the reluctance and neglect of 
General BueU to carry out their wishes, have been 
described. G-eneral Thomas remained posted in 
Eastern Kentucky, hoping that he might be called 
upon to form his column and lead it through the 
Cumberland Grap to Knoxville; but the weeks 



Chap. VII. 

Henry M. 

" Army of 
the Cum- 
pp. 17, 18. 

passed by, and the orders which he received only 
tended to scatter his few regiments for local de- 
fense and observation. With the hesitation of the 
Union army at this point the Confederates became 
bolder. Brigadier-Q-eneral F. K. Zollicoffer estab- 
lished himseK in a fortified camp on the north 
bank of the Cumberland Eiver, where he could, at 
the same time, defend Cumberland Grap and incite 
Eastern Kentucky to rebellion. Here he became 
so troublesome that BueU found it necessary to 
dislodge him, and late in December sent G-eneral 
Thomas orders to that effect. Thomas was weak in 
numbers, but strong in vigilance and courage. He 
made a difficult march during the early weeks of 
January, 1862, and halted at Logan's Cross Roads, 
within ten miles of the rebel camp, to await the 
junction of his few regiments. The enemy, under 
Zollicoffer and his district commander, George B. 
Crittenden, resolved to advance and crush him be- 
fore he could bring his force together. Thomas 
prepared, and accepted battle. The enemy had 
made a fatiguing night march of nine miles 
through a cold rain and over muddy roads. On the 
morning of January 19 the battle was begun with 
spirit, and soon had a dramatic incident. The rebel 
com m ander, Zollicoffer, mistaking a Union regi- 
ment, rode forward and told its commanding-offi- 
cer. Colonel Speed S. Fry, that he was firing upon 
friends. Fry, not aware that Zollicoffer was an enemy, 
turned away to order his men to stop firing. At this 
moment one of Zollicoffer's aides rode up, and, 
seeing the true state of affairs, drew his revolver 
and began firing at Fry, wounding his horse ; Fry, 
wheeling in turn, drew his revolver and returned 


the fire, shooting ZoUieoffer through the heart, chap.vii. 
The fall of the rebel commander served to hasten 
and complete the defeat of the Confederates. 
They retreated in disorder to their fortified camp 
at Mill Springs. Thomas ordered immediate pur- 
suit, and the same night invested thek camp and 
made preparations to storm their intrenchments 
the following morning. When day came, however, 
it was found that the rebels had crossed the Cum- 
berland River during the night, abandoning their 
wounded, twelve pieces of artillery, many small 
arms, and extensive supplies, and had fied in utter 
dispersion to the mountains. It was one of the Tij^j^j^gg 
most remarkable Union victories of the war. Gen- ^-^aStm^^' 
eral Thomas's forces consisted of a little over six Ara*y of 
regiments, those of Crittenden and Zollicoff er of over telian "-"• 
ten regiments. It was more than a defeat for the p- st.' 
Confederates. Their army was annihilated, and 
Cumberland Gap once more stood exposed, so that 
Buell might have sent a Union column and taken 
possession of Eastern Tennessee with but feeble 
opposition. It is possible that the brilliant oppor- 
tunity would at last have tempted him to comply 
with the urgent wishes of the President and the 
express orders of the General-in-Chief, had not un- 
expected events in another quarter diverted his 
attention and interest. 

There was everywhere, about the months of 
December, 1861, and January, 1862, a perceptible 
increase of the Union armies by fresh regiments 
from the Northern States, a better supply of arms 
through recent importations, an increase of funds 
from new loans, and the delivery for use of various 
war materials, the product of the summer's manu- 


CHAF.vii. facture. Of prime importance to the military opera- 
tions whicli centered at Cairo was the completion 
and equipment of the new gunboats. A word of 
retrospect concerning this arm of the military ser- 
vice is here necessary. Commander John Rodgers 
was sent West in the month of May, 1861, to begin 
the construction of war vessels for Western rivers. 
Without definite plans, he had purchased, and has- 
tily converted and armed as best he could, three 
river steamers. These were put into service in 
September ; they were provided with cannon, but 
had no iron plating. They were the Tyler, of 
seven guns, the Lexington, of six guns, and the 
Conestoga, of three guns. Making Cairo their cen- 
tral station, they served admu'ably in the lighter 
duties of river police, in guarding transports, and 
in making hasty trips of reconnaissance. For the 
great expedition down the Mississippi, projected 
during the summer and fall of 1861, a more power- 
ful class of vessels was provided.-^ The distin- 
guished civil engineer, James B. Eads, designed, 
and was authorised to buUd, seven new gunboats, 
to carry thu'teen guns each, and to be protected 
about the bows with iron plating capable of resist- 
ing the fire of heavy artillery. They were named 
the Cairo, Carondelet, Cincinnati, Louisville, Mound 
City, Pittsburg, and St. Louis. Two additional gun- 
boats of the same type of construction, but of 

1 To show the unremitting in- "On reflection, I think you better 

terest of the President in these make a peremptory order on the 

preparations, and how his en- ordnance officer at Pittsburgh to 

couragement and prompting fol- ship the ten mortars and two 

lowed even their minor details, beds to Cairo instantly, and all 

we quote from his autograph man- others as fast as finished till or- 

useript a note to the Secretary dered to stop, reporting each ship- 

of War dated Jan. 24, 1862: ment to the department here." 


larger size, — the Benton, of sixteen guns, and the chap.vii. 
Essex, of five guns, — were converted from other ves- 
sels about the same time. At the time Commodore ^MSge," 
Foote finally accepted the first seven (January 15, i862^"w.'e. 

\ ^ ) Vol. VIII., 

1862), it was found impossible to supply them with pp- 504, sos. 
crews of Eastern seamen. Resort was had to 
Western steamboatmen, and also to volunteers 
from infantry recruits. 

The joint reconnaissance of Grant and Foote to 
Fort Henry on the Tennessee River, January 14, 
has been related. A second examination was 
made by General C. F. Smith, who on January 
22 reported that he had been within two miles 
and a haK of the fort; that the river had risen 
fourteen feet since the last visit, giving a better 
opportunity to reconnoiter; more important, 
that the high water had drowned out a trouble- smith to 
some advance battery, and that, in his opinion, ^^o'^t^'' 
two iron-clad gunboats could make short work isel^^w.E. 

Vol. VII., 

of it. It is evident that, possessed of this ad- p- sei. 
ditional information. Grant and Foote immediately 
resolved upon vigorous measures. Grant had al- 
ready asked permission to visit Halleck at St. 
Louis. This was given ; but Halleck refused to 
entertain his project of an attack. So firmly con- 
vinced was Grant, however, that his plan was good, 
that, though unsuccessful at first, he quickly re- "inemSrs." 
newed the request. " Commanding-General Grant p- 287'.' 
and myself," telegraphed Foote to Halleck (January 
28, 1862), " are of opinion that Fort Henry, on the 
Tennessee River, can be carried vrith four iron-clad 
gunboats and troops to permanently occupy. Have Haueck" 
we your authority to move for that purpose when 1862. V. b. 
ready?" To this Grant on the same day added p-'i^o- ' 


Chap. VII. the direct proposal: "With permission, I wUl take 
to Himect, Fort Henry, on the Tennessee, and establish and 
1862! v. E. hold a large camp there." It would appear that no 
p. 121. ■' immediate answer was returned, for on the follow- 
ing day Grant renewed his proposition with more 
Ibid. emphasis. 

It is easy to perceive what produced a change in 
HaUeck's mind. Grant's persistent ui'ging was evi- 
dently the main influence, but two other events 
contributed essentially to the result. The first was 
the important victory gained by Thomas at Mill 
Springs in Eastern Kentucky on January 19, the 
certain news of which was probably just reach- 
ing him ; the second was a telegram from Washing- 
Mccieiian t*^^) informing him that General Beauregard, with 
!fn?Bueii^ fifteen regiments from the Confederate army in Vir- 
i862^"w!'e. ginia, was being sent to Kentucky to be added to 
p.' 671. ■' Johnston's army. "I was not ready to move," ex- 
w. E. plains Halleck afterwards, " but deemed best to an- 
ppl'sBT, 593. ticipate the arrival of Beauregard's forces." It is 
well also to remember in this connection that, three 
days before, President Lincoln's General War Order 
No. 1 had been published, ordering a general move- 
ment of aU the armies of the Union on the coming 
22d of February. Whatever induced it, the permis- 
sion now given was full and hearty. "Make your 
^Grant,*" preparations to take and hold Fort Henry," Hal- 
i**f °^jE- leek telegraphed to Grant on the 30th of January ; 
p.' 121. ■' "I wUl send you written instructions by mail." 

Grant and Foote had probably already begun 
their preparation. Receiving Halleck's instruc- 
tions on February 1, Grant on the following day 
started his expedition of fifteen thousand men on 
transports, and Foote, on the 4th, accompanied him 


with seven gunboats for convoy and attack. Their ohap.vii. 
plan contemplated a bombardment by the fleet from 
the river, and assault on the land side by the troops. 
For this purpose General McOlernand, with a divi- 
sion, was landed four miles below the fort on Feb- 
ruary 4. They made a reconnaissance on the 5th, 1862. 
and, being joined by another division under General 
Smith, were ordered forward to invest the fort on 
the 6th. This required a circuitous march of eight Mccier- 
miles, during which the gunboats of Flag-of6.cer ReTort, 

. Feb 10 

Foote, having less than half the distance to go by 1862. 'w.e. 
the river, moved on and began the bombardment, pp. 126-130. 
The capture proved easier than was anticipated. 
General Lloyd Tilghman, the Confederate com- 
mander of the fort, had, early that morning, sent 
away his three thousand infantry to Fort Donelson, 
being convinced that he was beset by an overpower- 
ing force. He kept only one company of artillerists 
to work the eleven river guns of the fort ; with these 
he defended the work about two hours, but without 
avail. Foote's four iron-plated gunboats steamed 
up boldly within six hundred yards. The bom- 
bardment, though short, was well sustained on both 
sides, and not without its fluctuating chances. 
Two of the heaviest guns in the fort were soon 
silenced, one bursting, and the other being rendered 
useless by an accident with the priming wire. At 
this point, a rebel shot passed through the casemate 
and boiler of the gunboat Essex, and she drifted 
helplessly out of the fight. But the remaining 
gunboats continued their close and fierce attack, 
and five more of the rebel guns being speedily 
disabled, General Tilghman hauled down his flag 
and went on board to surrender the fort. Mc- 


Chap. VII. demand's troops, from the land side, soon after 
entered the work and took formal possession. On 
the same day Grant telegraphed to HaUeck, " Fort 
Henry is ours"; and his dispatch bore yet an- 

to Haliieok, other significant announcement eminently ehar- 

w. k ■ acteristic of the man, "I shall take and destroy 
Vol. vn., T-i „ •' 

p. 124. Fort Donelson on the 8th." 



WHEN the men of tlie South plotted secession chap.viii. 
and declared war to perpetuate and extend 
slavery, they little dreamed what a sure and relent- 
less agency for its destruction they set in motion. 
It has been related how hostilities opened with 

Auril 23 

Butler's offer to suppress a slave rising in Maryland, issi. 
and how from some of the earlier camps fugitives 
were returned to their owners; also how in a few 
months the practice of the army changed to giving 
them wholesale shelter and employment, and to en- 
forcing the confiscation act of Congress which broke 
the legal bondage of those whom the rebels em- 
ployed in hostile military service. The unavoidable 
processes of war soon moved the question forward 
another step. If the army undertook to employ 
negroes in military work at exposed points, must it 
not protect them, and, as a necessary consequence, 
must it not permit them to protect themselves and 
furnish them weapons for defense ? This question 
became important when the sea-coast expeditions 
were organized, particularly in the one destined for 
Port Eoyal, where a district with a largely pre- 
ponderant slave population was to be attacked. 
Friendly blacks in great numbers would be sure to 




Chap. VIII. flock to the Union lines, and, tlie climate being 
extremely unhealtliy for Northern troops, it was 
desirable to employ them for labor and fatigue 
duty whenever possible. The Government could 
not do otherwise than give the commander per- 
mission to use every military advantage which 
might present itseK. 

In drawing up instructions on this point, the 
Assistant Secretary of War, after referring to prior 
orders, continued : " Special directions adapted to 
special circumstances cannot be given. Much must 
be referred to your own discretion as commanding 
general of the expedition. You will, however, in 
general, avail yourself of the services of any per- 
sons, whether fugitives from labor or not, who may 
offer them to the National Grovernment. You will 
employ such persons in such service as they may 
be fitted for — either as ordinary employes, or, if 
T. A. Scott special circumstances seem to require it, in any 
s^heSn^n, Other Capacity, with such organization (in squads, 

Oct. U, ■ J.T. • \ 1 , 

1861. w.E. companies, or otherwise) as you may deem most 

p. 170." beneficial to the service." When this instruction 

was read to President Lincoln, he foresaw that the 

latitude it gave might cause a terrible outcry of 

mahcious criticism, and he therefore interlined 

Araoid, "with his own hand the following qualifying sen- 

'and "_ tence : " This, however, not to mean a general arm- 

p. 236. ' ing of them for military service." 

If any political design lay hidden within the 
original phraseology of the instruction as it came 
from the War Department, it escaped notice or 
comment, because it represented the actual re- 
quirements of the moment in all save the caution- 
ary limit which Mr. Lincoln's amendment supplied. 


His own prTidenee in dealing with the slavery chap.viii. 
question was, however, not imitated by all those 
about him. The Fremont incident sharply marked 
the rapid drift and development of public opinion 
on this sensitive topic, and men were becoming 
either more conservative or more progressive, 
according to their several convictions. It was 
not unnatural that political leaders should begin 
to trim their sails to this fresh breeze of popu- 
lar sentiment, and before long it furnished an 
occurrence out of which grew the first change in 
President Lincoln's Cabinet. In preparing to 
transmit to Congress, at its December session, the isei. 
customary official documents which accompany the 
President's message, Mr. Lincoln found, to his sur- 
prise, that the annual report of the Secretary of 
War had been printed, and, without being submitted 
to his inspection, mailed to the postmasters of the 
chief cities to be handed to the press as soon as the 
telegraph should announce that the reading of the 
message was completed in Congress. When a copy 
came to his hands the reason for this haste was 
quite apparent ; in its closing paragraphs Secretary 
Cameron's report took distinct ground in favor of 
arming the negroes and incorporating them in the 
military service. Eef erring to the slaves abandoned 
by their owners in the territory captured by the 
Port Eoyal expedition, the report said : 

Those who make war against the Government justly 
forfeit all rights of property, privQege, or security de- 
rived from the Constitution and laws against which they 
are in armed rebellion; and as the labor and service of 
their slaves constitute the chief property of the rebels, 
such property should share the common fate of war, to 


chap.viii. which they have devoted the property of loyal citizens. . . 
It is as clearly a right of the Government to arm slaves, 
when it may become necessary, as it is to use gunpowder 
taken from the enemy. Whether it is expedient to do so 
is purely a military question. . . "What to do with that 
species of property is a question that time and circum- 
stance will solve, and need not be anticipated further 
than to repeat that they cannot be held by the Grovern- 
ment as slaves. It would be useless to keep them as 
prisoners of war; and self-preservation, the highest duty 
of a government, or of individuals, demands that they 
should be disposed of or employed in the most effective 
manner that will tend most speedily to suppress the insur- 
rection and restore the authority of the Government. If 
it shall be found that the men who have been held by the 
rebels as slaves are capable of bearing arms and perf orm- 
secretarV ^^^ efScient military service, it is the right, and may 
of War, become the duty, of the Government to arm and equip 

1st Edition; them, and employ their services against the rebels, under 
"^^py.^** proper military regulation, discipline, and command. 

While Mr. Lincoln agreed perfectly with the 
Secretary of War in the abstract right of the Gov- 
ernment to use abandoned or fugitive negroes in 
any military capacity, he did not think the time 
had arrived for forming them into marching regi- 
ments; neither did he deem it expedient that an 
official declaration of such a purpose should be 
published by a prominent officer of his Adminis- 
tration. The pamphlet copies of the report were 
still in the leading post-offices. These were hastily 
recalled by telegraph, and Secretary Cameron 
printed a new edition, modified according to the 
President's direction, by omitting all that portion 
of the argument relating to the controverted ques- 
tion, and in its place inserting a short paragraph 
to the effect that the slaves on captured or aban- 
doned plantations should not be returned to their 


masters, but withlield to lessen the enemy's mill- chap.viii. 
tary resources.-^ 

Ordinarily so radical a difference in administra- 
tive policy, the abrupt manner of its promulgation, 
and the peremptory recall and modification of a 
Secretary's report, would scarcely fail to cause a 
disagreeable Cabinet explosion. Lincoln's uniform 
good-nature and considerate forbearance, however, 
enabled him to endure and manage the incident 
without a quarrel, or even the least manifestation 
of ill-AiviU on either side. Having corrected his 
minister's haste and imprudence, the President 
indulged in no further comment, and Cameron, 
yielding to superior authority, received the implied 
rebuke with becoming grace. From the confiden- 
tial talks with his intimates it was clear enough that 
he expected a dismissal. But Lincoln never acted 
in a harsh or arbitrary mood. For the time being 
the personal relations between the President and 
his Secretary of War remained unchanged. They 
met in Cabinet consultations, or for the daily dis- 
patch of routine business, with the same cordial 
ease as before. Nevertheless, each of them realized 

1 "It is already a grave ques- labor may be useful to us ; witli- 

tion -what shall be done -with held from the enemy it lessens 

those slaves who were aban- his military resources, and with- 

doned by their owners on the holding them has no tendency to 

advance of our troops into South- induce the horrors of insurree- 

ern territory, as at Beaufort dis- tion, even in the rebel communi- 

triet in South Carolina. The ties. They constitute a military 

number left within our control at resource, and, being such, that 

that point is very considerable, they should not be turned over 

and similar cases will probably to the enemy is too plain to 

occur. What shall be done with discuss. Why deprive him of 

them? Can we afford to send supplies by a blockade and vol- 

them forward to their masters, untarily give him men to produce 

to be by them armed against us, them?"— Eeport of the Secretary 

or used in producing supplies of War, December 1, 1861 (Re- 

to sustain the rebellion ? Their vised Copy). 



Chap. VIII. 

Lincoln to 


Jan. 11, 

1862. MS. 


" Life of 


pp. 400, 401. 

that the circumstance had created a situation of 
diflBculty and embarrassment which could not be 
indefinitely prolonged, Cameron began to signify 
his weariness of the onerous labors of the War De- 
partment, and hinted to the President that he 
would greatly prefer the less responsible duties of 
a foreign mission. Lincoln said nothing for sev- 
eral weeks, but he was waiting for a favorable mo- 
ment when he might make a Cabinet change with 
the least official friction or public attention. To 
outsiders the affair seemed to have completely 
blown over, when, on January 11, 1862, Lincoln 

wrote the following short note : 
My dear Sir : As you have more than once expressed 
a desire for a change of position, I can now gratify you, 
consistently with my view of the pubhc interest. I there- 
fore propose nominating you to the Senate, next Monday, 
as Minister to Russia, 

Very sincerely, your friend, 

A. Lincoln. 

There is an interesting passage in the published 
diary of Secretary Chase, informing us that this 
note, written on Saturday, was shown by Cameron 
on Sunday afternoon to Secretaries Seward and 
Chase; also implying that several separate and 
joint interviews had been going on between these 
three Cabinet ministers for a day or two previ- 
ous, in which they discussed the question of Cam- 
eron's retirement, his nomination to Eussia, and the 
equally important topic of who should become his 
successor in the "War Department. Three points 
seem evident from the record : that while they all 
had a hint of the change, neither of them knew defi- 
nitely whether it would be finally made, or when it 



would occur, or who would be called to fill the va- chap.viii. 
cancy. Chase laments that Seward might suspect 
him of not dealing frankly; Seward is represented as 
appearing to know more than he communicated, and 
Cameron as hesitating between "no and yes." They 
finally all joined in the opinion that the most agree- 
able and the fittest successor in the War Depart- 
ment would be Stanton. And, if we may trust the 
language of the diary, each of them was impressed 
with the behef that he alone was the chief agency 
in bringing about the change, in delicately causing 
its hearty acceptance, and especially in selecting the 
man destined to become the greatest war minister 
the Government has ever had. The truth was that 
a stronger wiU and a yet more delicate tact had 
inspired and guided them all. Lincoln, securing 
his main purpose of once more combining these 
three influential leaders in renewed support of his 
Administration, in the midst of a Cabinet crisis 
changing rupture into strength and discord into 
harmony, was quite content to allow them to ap- 
propriate the merit of the success. On the follow- 
ing day the new nominations went to the Senate, 1862. ' 
where they were speedily confirmed. Nearly a 
month elapsed before the usual perfunctory and 
ex post facto correspondence was published in the 
newspapers, wherein the incident was recited in 
more formal phraseology. 

It is proper to mention in this connection that 
the Cabinet change here described caused no 
change in the friendship between Lincoln and 
Cameron. Three or four months afterwards a vio- 
lent factional assault upon the latter in the House 
of Eepresentatives resulted in the passage of a 
Vol. v.— 9 


CHAP. VIII. resolution of censure, charging Cameron, while 
Secretary of War, with having adopted in certain 
Apmis' transactions "a policy highly injurious to the 
p!i888. public service." As soon as Mr. Lincoln's atten- 
tion was called to the resolution, he wrote and 
transmitted to the House a special message ex- 
plaining that the censured "transactions " occurred 
during the days of the first and extreme peril of the 
Government, when Washington was cut off from 
communication with the North by the insurrection 
in Maryland ; that the acts complained of were not 
done by Cameron exclusively, but were ordered by 
the President with the full assent of his Cabinet, 
MayaT," every member of which, with himself, was equally 
p. 2383. responsible for the alleged irregularity. Cameron 
gratefully remembered this voluntary and manly 
defense of his official integrity. He remained one 
of the most intimate and devoted of Lincoln's per- 
sonal friends, and became one of the earliest and 
most effective advocates of his renomination and 
reelection to the Presidency. 

Edwin M. Stanton, the new Secretary of War, 
who became at once a prominent and powerful 
figure in the Government, was born in Steuben- 
ville, Ohio, December 19, 1814. He was educated 
at Kenyon College, and began the practice of law 
in 1836. By ten years of studious industry he aft- 
quired the skill and rank in his profession which 
justified his removal, in 1847, to the great commer- 
cial and manufacturing city of Pittsburgh. From 
this point he was intrusted with a class of cases 
which took him so frequently before the Supreme 
Court of the United States that in 1856 he perma- 
nently established his office in Washington City. 



Being an ardent Democrat in politics, and both the chap.viii, 
President and Attorney-Q-eneral of the United 
States being at that time citizens of Pennsylvania, 
his local influence and acquaintance probably se- 
cured his employment as counsel for the Govern- 
ment in certain important land cases in California 
during the year 1858. This employment necessa- 
rily brought him into confidential relations with the 
Department of Justice and the Attorney-G-eneral. 
That his services proved valuable and satisfactory 
is shown by the double fact that President Buch- 
anan consulted him in the preparation of his annual 
message, and on the retirement of Cass from his 
Cabinet, about the middle of December, 1860, ap- 
pointed him Attorney-Q-eneral to succeed Judge 
Black, who was made Secretary of State. 

There is a conflict of evidence as to Stanton's 
precise attitude in this new relation. Ex-Secretary 
Black has written that he fully adopted the non- 
coercion views of his (Black's) official opinion of 
November 20, and of Buchanan's annual message 
formulating the doctrine of non-coercion ; also that 
he read and indorsed Buchanan's special message 
of January 8, 1861, which was a virtual abdication 
of executive functions. But Black's own opinions 
and position between these dates are palpably in- 
consistent and antagonistic; witness his written 
memorandum, given to the President in the new 
Cabinet crisis of December 30, advising a certain 
course and explaining, this "is coercionP Black 
further explains that Stanton copied the memoran- 
dum, and freely joined in the advice. Buchanan's 
Cabinet was undergoing a revolutionary convul- 
sion. Black was evidently steering between op- 

" Galaxy," 

June, 1870, 

p. 824. 

" Essays 

pp. 14-17. 


Chap. VIII. posing factions till the President called him to 
lead the Union section and sentiment of his Cab- 
inet, when he, for the first time, took positive and 
consistent ground. His own version of these trans- 
actions may be pardoned for representing himself 
as the directing leader in this partial transforma- 
tion of Buchanan's Administration. Those who 
were familiar with the characters of the two men 
will rather conclude that Stanton's positive nature 
and impulsive energy were the real sources of the 
decided stand which Black then for the first time 
assumed. The same revolutionary dangers and 
apprehensions explain another apparent impossi- 
bility. There is direct and indirect testimony from 
prominent Republican leaders — Seward, WUson, 
Sumner, Dawes, Howard, and perhaps others — that 
during this period Stanton, a stubborn and preju- 
diced Buchanan Democrat, was in secret communi- 
cation and concert with those leading spirits of the 
opposition. Black, who ten years afterwards wrote 
a bitterly partisan article questioning the facts, 
asks : " Did he [Stanton] accept the confidence of 
the President [Buchanan] and the Cabinet, with 
"Galaxy," a predetermined intent to betray it?" and calls 
pp™&, 826. such conduct " conspiring with Abohtionists." The 
simple truth appears to be that Stanton, becoming 
a member of Buchanan's Cabinet with no suspicion 
of the conspiracy by which Jefferson Davis and 
Secretaries Cobb, Floyd, and Thompson ensnared 
and for the moment controlled it, was horrified at 
the revelation which his new duties opened to him. 
Seeing President Buchanan in an attitude of hope- 
less irresolution, amid a preponderance of treason- 
able advice, he entered into secret relations with 


the Republican leaders, and disclosed the facts, as chap.viii. 
the only available rock of safety in the stress and 
peril of impending revolution,' 

Several years before, Stanton had met the new 
President under peculiar circumstances. It hap- 
pened that Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Stanton, and George 
Harding were associated as counsel in a celebrated 
reaper patent case which was tried in the city of 
Cincinnati before the United States Circuit Court, 
though they had not met in consultation prior to 
the trial. It is related on the one hand that Lin- 
coln was senior counsel, and that when the hearing 
came on, Stanton, undervaluing Lincoln's character 
and ability, with unprofessional assurance, grasped 
the role of making the argument on the law points, 
to which, as junior counsel, he had no claim under 
the custom of the bar; that as the Court would 
hear only two lawyers on a side, and as the review 

1 In "The Works of Charles be; that Virginia would certain- 

Sumner," Vol. V., pp. 459, 460, ly secede ; that the conspiracy 

and 462, we find the following : there was the most widespread 

"Yesterday I was with the and perfect." — Sumner to Gov- 

Attorney-General, an able, ex- ernor Andrew, January 2 6, 18 61. 
perienced, Northern Democratic „ _ 

lawyer, with the instincts of oar ^ " ' " ^*«* evening the Attorney- 
prof ession on the relation of cause ,^«^«^f. 7,^f ^^'^ me for a long 
andefeect. He drew me into his time, till after midnight. I know 
room, but there were clerks there ; ^™,"^ ^™ "^^^ ^ °^'^°* communi- 
opening the door into another cate Suface it to say, he does 
room there were clerks there too ; "°* .*^'^ t P^°^'^}'le- hardly 
and then traversing five different ^"^'i^^^T ^^^^ t^^lt ^^^"^ 
rooms, he found them all occupied ^^ ^\ ^^^ °* ^^'"'^- ^^"^ ^""^^l 
by clerks ; when, opening the door ''^«^* ^f ^!? ^T^ ""^^^^ ^""-f^ 
into the entry, he told me he was a scene has taken place which will 
'surrounded by Secessionists,' l^e historic, but which I know in 

^T,„ „ ij ^ „ . . , ' sacred confidence." — Sumner to 

wno would report m an hour to ^ . , t no 

ii, • J. ■ , Governor Andrew, January 2a, 

the newspapers any interview be- ""'°'-""'- -"-"^cy., «». j , 

tween us : that he must see me 


at some other time and place ; Also compare, ante, Chapters 
-that everything was bad as could VI. and X., Vol. III., of this work 



Chap. VIII. 

" Harper's 


June, 1884, 

p. 62. 



to the 
March 12, 
1887. MS. 


Nov., 1879, 
pp. 473-483. 

of the mechanical questions was specially confided 
to Mr. Harding, this arrangement deprived Mr. 
Lincoln, and to his disappointment, of the oppor- 
tunity of speaking before a prominent Court and 
a new and distinguished auditory. On the other 
hand we are distinctly informed by one of the 
clients in that suit that Mr. Lincoln was the junior 
counsel, and Mr. Stanton and Mr. Harding had made 
so much longer and more elaborate preparation that 
the clients themselves determined their selection to 
make the arguments ; that, therefore, Mr. Lincoln's 
displacement arose from no unfairness of any one, 
but simply from the fact that the Court had limited 
the number of speakers. 

When the new President was inaugurated, Stan- 
ton, and the other members of Buchanan's Adminis- 
tration, went into sudden eclipse. For months the 
public heard nothing from them, and in the mighty 
rush of events thought nothing about them. They 
evidently felt keenly the popular odium under 
which they disappeared for the moment, and were 
eager to magnify in their own extenuation every 
real or apparent shortcoming of their successors. 
In a series of confidential letters which did not 
become public till years after the war, from which 
we have elsewhere made quotations, we have an 
interesting record of Stanton's views and feelings. 
He watched the beginnings of the new Administra- 
tion with an eye of unsparing fault-finding. It is 
clear that he had no high opinion of Mr. Lincoln, 
and no hope in the Eepublican party ; worse than 
all, his faith in the ability of the Government to 
defend and maintain itself seems to have been 
seriously shaken, if not utterly gone. His com- 



ments on public events are' couched in a tone 
of partisan bitterness. He thought Mr. Douglas's 
Senate resolution " a comprehensive platform for 
relinquishing everything in the seceded States." 
He predicted that " by the time that all the patron- 
age is distributed the Eepublican party will be dis- 
solved." He reported the impression, " that in less 
than thirty days Davis will be in possession of 
Washington." He repeated baseless street rumors 
of " the trepidation of Lincoln " and the " panic " 
of the Administration ; complained of party action, 
" venality and corruption " of power, and " distrust 
in every department of the Government." As 
events culminated, his language grew stronger ; he 
spoke of the " painful imbecility of Lincoln " with 
aU the glibness of a country editor, and after the 
Bull Run defeat he thought a better state of things 
impossible "until Jefferson Davis turns out the whole 
concern." It would be uncharitable to insist on a 
literal criticism of these phrases. They must be 
judged in the light of Stanton's excited patriotism 
and impulsive vehemence of thought ; also, it must 
be remembered that they were written for confiden- 
tial, not public, inspection ; and, more than all, that 
he wrote them without the full and accurate know- 
ledge which was requisite to a proper judgment. He 
is certainly to be blamed for the harshness of his 
language and the recklessness of such assertions on 
the strength of street rumors. But, making allow- 
ance for the party prejudice and official soreness 
which inspired them, they assist in our interpreta- 
tion of the larger capabilities and future usefulness 
of the man, under the domination and control of 
that unsleeping prudence and large-hearted charity 

Chap. viii. 

Stanton to 


June 11, 




Vol. II., 

p. 19. 

Stanton to 


July 26, 





Nov., 1879, 

p. 482. 


Chap. VIII. 

wMcli characterized President Lincoln, who was 
able to transmute such a mine of energy to con- 
tinuous regulated public service at a high pressure, 
and yet hold its excesses in check, temper its harsh- 
ness, and ease its inevitable friction. 

Stanton's nature was largely materialistic; his 
eye saw things in a simple, practical light; his 
mind dealt with them by rules of arithmetic. His 
knowledge of legal principles was governed by the 
same characteristic ; hence his success in questions 
deahng with physical facts, land cases, and espe- 
cially patent cases involving the examination of me- 
chanical forces. This quality, arising mainly from 
strong instinctive perception, was coupled with 
another trait which gave it extraordinary power 
and value, namely, physical and mental energy. 
Above everything else he was a man of action. 
What in other men might be likened to the vari- 
able force of winds or wills, might be represented 
in him as the continuous, unremitting action of a 
steam-engine, able to furnish at every call any re- 
quired pressure and speed for any period of dura- 
tion. He had thus the qualities which made him a 
worker of workers. Method and organization were 
with him prime intuitions. He was impatient of 
delay and intolerant of neglect. Every thought 
and volition was positive. He was positive in his 
personal friendships, positive in his party convic- 
tions, positive in his judgments, positive to the last 
degree in his expressions. Yet these fundamental 
qualities were somewhat modified and restrained 
by his education and experience. In his profession 
he had learned " the uncertainties of the law." In 
politics he had witnessed the suddenness of popu- 



lar transition, and the faithlessness of individuals chap.viii, 
to obligations of party and principle. His Cabinet 
experience had shown him how the apparently 
solid pillars of state might be undermined by con- 
cealed disaffection and treason. His judgment, 
therefore, tempered his instincts and restrained his 
impulses; it was doubtless this which made it 
possible for him to surrender sufficiently his party 
prejudices while yet a member of Buchanan's Cabi- 
net, to confide in and advise with Eepublican 
leaders, and later to accept a Cabinet office from 
Lincoln, towards whom he had used such severe and 
unjust language. In a letter to Mr. Buchanan, 
dated March 1, 1862, he says : " My accession to 
my present position was quite as sudden and unex- 
pected as the confidence you bestowed upon me in 
calling me to your Cabinet, and the responsible 
trust was accepted in both instances from the same 
motives, and will be executed with the same fidelity 
to the Constitution and laws." ' In another letter, 
dated May 18, 1862, he wrote : "I hold my pres- 
ent post at the request of the President, who knew 
me personally, but to whom I had not spoken from 
the 4th of March, 1861, until the day he handed me 
my commission. I knew that everything I cherish 
and hold dear would be sacrificed by accepting 
office. But I thought I might help to save the 
country, and for that I was willing to perish." 
And six months later he again wrote : " In respect 
to the present position of affairs, all I can say is 
that the whole power of the Government is being 


Stanton to 
May 18, 
" Congres- 
June 9, 
1886, p. S6T0. 

put forth with more 

and I think more 

1 For a copy of this letter and other valuable manuscripts we are 
indebted to Lewis H. Stanton, son of the Secretary. 


Chap. VIII. eamestness, on the part of military commanders, 
than at any former period. Treason is encouraged 
in the Northern States by the just discontent of the 
people. But, believing our national destiny is as 
immediately in the hands of the Most High as ever 
was that of the Children of Israel, I am not only 
undismayed, but fuU of hope. For myself, turning 
neither to the right hand nor to the left, serving 
no man, and at enmity with none, I shall strive to 

Stanton to ' „ 

N?v^i'8 perform my whole duty in the great work before 
"Con- Tis. Mistakes and faults I no doubt may commit, 

^ecordl"^ but the purpose of my actions shall be single to 
"1886. ' the public good." 

These extracts evidently present a true state- 
ment of Stanton's feeling. He accepted his ap- 
pointment in both instances, not as a party or 
official retainer, but as a call to a citizen's duty ; 
and in both cases he sought to make his service 
consistent, not with party profession, but with 
patriotic obligation. " Fidelity to the Constitution 
and laws" required him under Buchanan to do 
everything in his power to thwart the conspiracy 
in which his colleagues Cobb, Thompson, and 
Floyd were engaged ; and the same principle bound 
him under Lincoln to use every agency he could 
control to suppress rebellion and reestablish the 
national authority. In this mood he began his 
duties as Lincoln's War Secretary, and in a daily 
official intercourse of more than three years ren- 
dered his great chief a steady personal service and 
devotion of which he probably Uttle dreamed when, 
in the summer of 1861, he was so ignorantly writing 
of the " painful imbecility of Lincoln." Now he 
could better measure the President's intellectual 


strength, and observe his unselfish patriotism, chap.viii. 
Neither of the men had an easy task to perform. 
It was a relation calculated to curb any light 
promptings of vanity or self-sufficiency; and for 
his own immense responsibilities the Secretary of 
War had frequent need of the indulgence of the 
Executive, From first to last there was between 
them substantial unity of aim, cooperation in 
effort, confidence in word and act. Stanton joined 
heartily in all the great military and political meas- 
ures of the Administration : ample calls for troops, 
liberal bounties, the desire for vigorous, offensive 
campaigns, promotion for merit, emancipation, the 
draft, the organization and protection of colored 
troops, and the amendment of the Constitution to 
abolish slavery. His advice was always intelligent, 
consistent, and steady; his decisions were rapid 
and generally judicious and permanent. In Cabi- 
net discussions he was forcible rather than brilliant, 
ready with fact and law, and, though not dogmatic, 
always decided. As natural with two strong minds, 
they sometimes differed in their estimates of men 
or advisability of measures, but never in principle 
or object. 

The relation of Mr. Lincoln to the members of 
his Cabinet was one of unusual frankness and 
cordiality. The President was gifted by nature 
with a courtesy far excelling the conventionalities 
of an acquired politeness. "With a delicacy which 
has rarely been equaled, he respected not merely 
their of&cial authority but also their sentiments, 
their judgments, their manhood. Though differing 
widely from him in personal qualities, they returned 
his courtesy and kindness as a rule with warm 


CHAP.vm. friendship, and none of them more sincerely than 
Mr. Stanton. The President found support in the 
outspoken counsel and robust energy of his war 
minister; the Secretary yielded trustfully to the 
superior sagacity and authority of the President. 
Lincoln began by giving his new Secretary that 
full discretion which his selection properly implied, 
and which the vast and responsible duties expected 
of him unavoidably demanded. It may safely be 
asserted that Stanton employed this trust with high 
patriotic aspiration. In comparison with the gen- 
eral correctness of his judgment and the value of 
his advice and action, his few mistakes which might 
be pointed out become trivial. The occasional 
exhibitions of temper and brusqueness of manner 
which have been observed in him, are chargeable 
to the harassing perplexity of his duties ; natur- 
ally he was genial and kind, and his words often 
evinced a deep tenderness of feeling. As he did not 
spare his own health and strength in the public 
service by day or by night, so he required from 
every subordinate, whether a general or a private, 
whether in Washington or in the farthest camp, 
unremitting activity, devotion, sacrifice. Both the 
War Department and the army instantly felt the 
quickening influence of his rare organizing power, 
combined with a wiU which nothing but unques- 
tioning obedience would satisfy. He insisted rig- 
idly upon military system, discipline, and duty. 
There was indeed urgent need for their enforce- 
ment. The hundreds of thousands of civilians 
suddenly called to arms as soldiers or officers did 
not take kindly to the subordination and restraints 
of the camp. The flood of promotions which at- 


tended tlie organization of brigades and divisions chap.viii. 
produced an unhealthy rivalry in all grades of com- 
mand, showering Congress, the "War Department, 
and the Executive Mansion with applications. The 
evil of officers' furloughs to come to Washington 
to further their promotions became so great as to 
excite the wit of the newspapers. " The other day," 
ran a paragraph, " a boy threw a stone at a dog 
on Pennsylvania Avenue and hit three Brigadier- 

Stanton took hold of such abuses with an ener- 
getic hand. He banished self-seeking "shoulder- 
straps" from the capital. He centered the telegi-aph 
in the War Department, where the publication of 
military news, which might prematurely reach the 
enemy, could be supervised, and, if necessary, 
delayed. He expanded and vivified his various 
military bureaus. He found some Congressmen, 
like some contractors, misrepresenting his peremp- 
tory refusals of the special favors they arrogantly 
demanded; to correct this abuse, he for a period 
stood every day at a stated hour beside a tall desk 
in one of the rooms of the War Department, where 
he compelled each applicant or interviewer, high or 
low, to state his request publicly and audibly in 
presence of the assembled throng, so that the sten- 
ographer at his elbow could record it as well as the 
Secretary's answer, and verbal solicitations and 
personal interviews diminished suddenly under this 
staring publicity. It was Stanton's habit to go 
personally with news or official papers to the Execu- 
tive Mansion, informally, at all hours ; it was Lin- 
coln's practice to go as informally to Stanton's 
office at the War Department, and in times of great 

142 ABBAHAM LINCOLN suspense, during impending or actual battles, to 
spend hour after hour with his War Secretary, 
where he could read the telegi'ams as fast as they 
■were received and handed in from the adjoining 
room. Under such conditions there grew up be- 
tween them an intimacy in which the mind and 
heart of each were given without reserve to the 
great work in which they bore such conspicuous 
parts. When the time for Mr. Lincoln's reelection 
came, no man desired or labored for it more ear- 
nestly than Edwin M. Stanton, while no one appre- 
ciated more clearly or valued more highly than 
President Lincoln the splendid abilities and ser- 
vices of his Secretary of War. 

The anecdotes of his occasional blunt disregard 
of the President's expressed wishes are either un- 
true or are half-truths that lead to erroneous 
conclusions, and originated probably in a certain 
roughness of Stanton's manner under strong irrita- 
tion. Lincoln never magnified trifles ; Stanton 
seldom neglected a plain duty. Nevertheless, in 
the multifarious details of their daily labors they 
sometimes found each other at cross-purpose in 
regard to some minor and relatively unimportant 
matter. Stanton, carrying out the great operations 
of the War Department, in which system and order 
were essential, was predisposed to insist upon ad- 
herence to established rules. Lincoln, on the other 
hand, governing the greater machine of admin- 
istration, which included the temper and drift of 
public opinion equally with the rules and articles 
of war, was by nature as weU as by reason con- 
stantly moved, not merely to the pardoning power 
with which he was specially invested by the Con- 


stitution, but also to that unwritten dispensing chap.viii. 
authority enfolded within the broad scope of Ex- 
ecutive discretion, and was prone to temper the 
harsh accidents of civil war by a generous and 
liberal construction of law and duty. It is quite 
possible that Stanton thought the President too 
ready to yield to the hundreds of personal pe- 
titions which besieged him for clemency or relief, 
and we have the written evidence that in the fol- 
lowing case at least (though we believe the authen- 
tic instances are rare), the President's written 
du-ection was neglected by his Secretary untU re- 
minded of his proper duty by this note from Mr. 
Lincoln : 

" A poor widow, by the name of Baird, has a son 
in the army, that for some offense has been sen- 
tenced to serve a long time without pay, or at most 
with very little pay. I do not like this punishment 
of withholding pay — it falls so very hard upon 
poor families. After he had been serving in this 
way for several months, at the tearful appeal of the 
poor mother, I made a direction that he be allowed 
to enlist for a new term, on the same conditions as 

, . c^^ -, 1 J 1 Lincoln to 

others. She now comes, and says she cannot get stanton, 
it acted upon. Please do it." Stanton had his i864. ms. 
warm-hearted as well as his hot-tempered and stub- 
born moods, and it is not likely, after this patient 
explanation, that he hesitated an instant to carry 
out the President's request. The strong will of 
Stanton met in Lincoln a still stronger personality, 
which governed not merely by higher legal au- 
thority, but by the manifestation of a greater soul 
and a clearer insight justifying his decisions with 
a convincing logic. To show how effectively and 



Chap. VIII. 

Lincoln to 
Maich 18, 

1864. MS. 

to Lincoln, 

Marcli 19. 
1864. MS. 

yet how prudently the President wielded this 
weapon, we quote another letter written by him 
upon a kindred class of topics : 

" I am so pressed in regard to prisoners of war 
in our custody, whose homes are within our lines 
and who wish to not be exchanged, but to take the 
oath and be discharged, that I hope you will pardon 
me for again calling up the subject. My impression 
is that we will not ever force the exchange of any of 
this class; that, taking the oath and being dis- 
charged, none of them will again go to the rebel- 
lion ; but the rebellion again coming to them, a 
considerable percentage of them, probably not a 
majority, would rejoin it ; that by a cautious dis- 
crimination, the number so discharged would not 
be large enough to do any considerable mischief in 
any event, would relieve distress in at least some 
meritorious cases, and would give me some relief 
from an intolerable pressure. I shall be glad, there- 
fore, to have your cheerful assent to the discharge 
of those whose names I may send, which I will only 
do with circumspection." In answer to the above 
letter, Stanton, on the next day, wrote : " Mr. Pres- 
ident : Your order for the discharge of any prison- 
ers of war will be cheerfully and promptly obeyed." 

As Lincoln thus always treated Stanton, not as 
a department clerk, but with the respect and con- 
sideration due a Cabinet minister, questions of dif- 
ference rarely came to a head. There were very few 
instances in which they ever became sufficiently 
defined to leave a written record. One such was 
when the President ordered Franklin's division to 
join McClellan, against Stanton's desire that it 
should be kept with McDowell's army moving by 




land to cover Washington. Another when Stanton chap.viii. 
with several other members of the Cabinet signed a 
protest against McClellan's being placed in command 
of the Army of the Potomac after Pope's defeat in 
Virginia. In this instance these Cabinet signers 
had the good sense not to send their protest to Mr. 
Lincoln. Still a third when Stanton made an 
order giving Bishop Ames control of the Methodist 
churches which had fallen into our hands in the 
South, in plain violation of a prior letter from the 
President that the Government must not " under- 
take to run the churches." In these and similar 
cases Stanton yielded readily. One authentic case 
remains where the trial of will between the two 
men was brought to the point of a sharper issue. 
It is related by Q-eneral James B. Fry, who wit- 
nessed the scene. Its beginning is sufficiently 
stated in the following order, made by Lincoln on 
September 1, 1864 : 

It is represented to me that there are at Rock Island, 
Illinois, as rebel prisoners of war, many persons of 
Northern and foreign birth who are unwilling to be ex- 
changed and sent South, but who wish to take the oath 
of allegiance and enter the military service of the Union. 
Colonel Huidekoper, on behalf of the people of some 
parts of Pennsylvania, wishes to pay the bounties the 
Grovernment would have to pay to proper persons of this 
class, have them enter the service of the United States, 
and be credited to the localities furnishing the bounty 
money. He will therefore proceed to Rock Island, ascer- 
tain the names of such persons (not including any who 
have attractions Southward), and telegraph them to the 
Provost-Marshal-General here, whereupon direction wiU 
be given to discharge the persons named upon their tak- 
ing the oath of allegiance ; and upon the official evidence 
being furnished that they shall have been duly received 
Vol. v.— 10 


Chap. VIII. and mustered into the service of the United States, their 
number will be credited as may be directed by Colonel 
MS. Huidekoper. 

From what followed we may be certain that the 
President did not understand the full scope and ef- 
fect of the order, and when Stanton learned all the 
circumstances he refused to carry it out, and upon 
Lincoln's reiterating it, refused a second time. 
General Fry, who was the provost-marshal-general 
having special charge of such questions, thus con- 
tinues his narrative : 

Then Lincoln went in person to Stanton's office, and I 
was called there by the latter to state the facts in the 
case. I reported to the two high officials, as I had previ- 
ously done to the Secretary alone, that these men already 
belonged to the United States, being prisoners of war; 
that they could not be used against the Confederates; 
that they had no relation whatever to the county to 
which it was proposed they should be credited ; that all 
that was necessary towards enlisting them in our army 
for Indian service was the Government's release of them 
as prisoners of war; that to give them bounty and 
credit them to a county which owed some of its own 
men for service against the Confederates would -waste 
money and deprive the army operating against a power- 
ful enemy of that number of men, etc. Stanton said: 
" Now, Mr. President, those are the facts, and you must 
see that your order cannot be executed." Lincoln sat 
upon a sofa with his legs crossed, and did not say a 
word until the Secretary's last remark. Then he said, in 
a somewhat positive tone: "Mr. Secretary, I reckon 
you '11 have to execute the order." Stanton replied with 
asperity : " Mr. President, I cannot do it. The order is 
an improper one, and I cannot execute it." Lincoln fixed 
his eye upon Stanton, and in a firm voice, and with an 
accent that clearly showed his determination, he said: 
"Mr. Secretary, it wiU have to be done." Stanton then 
realized that he was overmatched. He had made a 



James B. 

New York 
'* Tribune," 

June 28, 

square issue with the President and been defeated, not- chap.viii. 
withstanding the fact that he was in the right. Upon an 
intimation from him I withdrew and did not witness his 
surrender. A few minutes after I reached my oflce I re- 
ceived instructions from the Secretary to carry out the 
President's order. 

It must not be assumed from the termination of 
the above incident that Mr. Lincohi wished either 
to humiliate the Secretary of "War or compel him 
to violate his convictions of duty. In the interim 
between General Fry's withdrawal from the room 
and the Secretary's acquiescence Lincoln had 
doubtless explained to Stanton, with that irresist- 
ible frankness and kindness with which he carried 
all his points of controversy, the reasons for his 
insistence, which he immediately further put upon 
record for the Secretary's justification in the fol- 
lowing letter to General Grant, dated September 22, 
1864: "I send this as an explanation to you, and 
to do Justice to the Secretary of War. I was 
induced, upon pressing applications, to authorize 
agents of one of the districts of Pennsylvania to 
recruit in one of the prison depots in Illinois ; and 
the thing went so far before it came to the know- 
ledge of the Secretary that, in my judgment, it 
could not be abandoned without greater evil than 
would follow its going through. I did not know at 
the time that you had protested against that class 
of thing being done ; and I now say that while this 
particular job must be completed, no other of the 
sort will be authorized, without an understanding "S^ant,*" 
with you, if at all. The Secretary of War is wholly ifeT^Ms. 
free of any part in this blunder." 



CHAP. IX. ABOUT the 1st of December, 1861, Mr. Lincoln, 
JTJL who saw more clearly than McClellan, then 
general-in-ehief, the urgent necessity for some 
movement of the army, suggested, to him a plan 
of campaign which, afterwards much debated and 
discussed and finally rejected, is now seen to have 
been eminently wise and sagacious. He made a 
brief autograph memorandum of his plan, which 
he handed to McClellan, who kept it for ten days 
and returned it to Mr. Lincoln with a hurried 
memorandum in pencil, showing that it made little 
impression on his mind. The memorandum and 
answer are so illustrative of the two men that we 
give them here in full, copied from the original 
manuscript : 

If it were determined to make a forward movement of 
the Army of the Potomac, without awaiting further in- 
crease of numbers or better drill and discipline, how 
long would it require to actually get in motion?— [An- 
swer, in pencil:] If bridge-trains ready, by December 
15th — probably 25th. 

After leaving all that would be necessary, how many 
troops could join the movement from southwest of the 
river? — [In pencil,] 71,000. 

How many from northeast of it? — [In pencil,] 33,000. 




Suppose then that of those southwest of the river — 
[in pencil,] 50,000 — move forward and menace the enemy 
at Oentreville? the remainder of the movable force on 
that side move rapidly to the crossing of the Occoquan 
by the road from Alexandria towards Richmond ; there 
to be joined by the whole movable force from northeast 
of the river, having landed from the Potomac just below 
the mouth of the Occoquan, moved by land up the south 
side of that stream, to the crossing-point named ; then 
the whole move together, by the road thence to Brent- 
ville, and beyond, to the railroad just south of its cross- 
ing of Broad Run, a strong detachment of cavalry having 
gone rapidly ahead to destroy the railroad bridges south 
and north of the point. 

If the crossing of the Occoquan by those from above 
be resisted, those landing, from the Potomac below to 
take the resisting force of the enemy in rear ; or, if the 
landing from the Potomac be resisted, those crossing the 
Occoquan from above to take that resisting force in 
rear. Both points will probably not be successfully re- 
sisted at the same time. The force in front of Centre- 
ville, if pressed too hardly, should fight back slowly into 
the intrenchments behind them. Armed vessels 
transportation should remain at the Potomac landing to 
cover a possible retreat. ' 

Chap. IX. 

Lincoln to 

and McClellan, 


General McClellau returned the memorandum 
with this reply: 

I inclose the paper you left with me, flUed as you re- 
quested. In arriving at the numbers given, I have left 
the minimum number in garrison and observation. 

Information received recently leads me to believe that 
the enemy could meet us in front with equal forces 
nearly, and I have now my mind actively turned to- 
wards another plan of campaign that I do not think at 
all anticipated by the enemy, nor by many of our own 


to Lincoln, 

Dec. 10, 



MS. ■ 

The general's information was, as usual, er- 
roneous. Johnston reports his "effective total" 


CHAP. IX. at this time as about 47,000 men — less than one- 
third what McClellan imagined it. Lincoln, how- 
ever, did not insist upon knowing what the 
general's "other plan" was; nor did he press 
further upon his attention the suggestion that 
had been so scantily considered and so curtly dis- 
missed. But as the weeks went by in inaction, his 
thoughts naturally dwelt upon the opportunities 
afforded by an attack on the enemy's right, and 
the project took more and more definite shape in 
his mind. 
1861. Congress convened on the 2d of December, and 

one of its earliest subjects of discussion was the 
battle of Ball's Bluff. Roscoe Conkling in the House 
of Representatives, and Zachariah Chandler in the 
Senate, brought forward resolutions for the ap- 
pointment of committees to investigate and de- 
termine the responsibility for that disaster ; but, on 
motion of Grimes of Iowa, the Senate chose to 
order a permanent joint committee of three Sen- 
ators and four Representatives to inquire into the 
conduct of the war. This action was unanimously 
agreed to by the House; and the committee was 
appointed, consisting of Senators B. F. Wade, 
Chandler, and Andrew Johnson, and of Representa- 
tives Gooch, Covode, Julian, and Odell. This com- 
mittee, known as the Committee on the Conduct 
of the War, was for four years one of the most im- 
portant agencies in the country. It assumed, and 
was sustained by Congress in assuming, a great 
range of prerogative. It became a stern and 
zealous censor of both the army and the Govern- 
ment; it called soldiers and statesmen before it, 
and questioned them like refractory schoolboys. It 


claimed to speak for the loyal people of the United chap. ix. 
States, and this claim generally met with the sym- 
pathy and support of a majority of the people's 
representatives in Congress assembled. It was 
often hasty and unjust in its judgments, but always 
earnest, patriotic, and honest ; it was assailed with 
furious denunciation and defended with headlong 
and indiscriminating eulogy ; and on the whole it 
must be said to have merited more praise than 

Even before this committee was appointed, as 
we have seen. Senators Chandler and Wade, repre- 
senting the more ardent and eager spirits in Con- 
gress, had repeatedly pressed upon the Government 
the necessity of employing the Army of the Poto- 
mac in active operations ; and now that they felt 
themselves formally intrusted with a mandate from 
the people to that effect, were stiU more urgent 
and persistent. General McClellan and his imme- 
diate following treated the committee with some- 
thing like contempt. But the President, with his 
larger comprehension of popular forces, knew that 
he must take into account an agency of such im- 
portance ; and though he steadily defended Gen- 
eral McClellan and his deliberateness of preparation 
before the committee, he constantly assured him in 
private that not a moment ought to be lost in get- 
ting himself in readiness for a forward movement. 
A free people, accustomed to considering public 
affairs as their own, can stand reverses and disap- 
pointments ; they are capable of making great ex- 
ertions and great sacrifices. The one thing that they 
cannot endure is inaction on the part of their rulers; 
the one thing that they insist upon is to see some 


Chap. IX. resTilt of their exertions and sacrifices. December 
was the fifth month that General McClellan had been 
in command of the greatest army ever brought to- 
gether on this continent. It was impossible to con- 
vince the country that a longer period of preparation 
was necessary before this army could be led against 
one inferior in numbers, and not superior in disci- 
phne or equipment. As a matter of fact, the country 
did not believe the rebel army to be equal to the 
army of the Union in any of these particulars. It 
did not share the delusion of Greneral McClellan 
and his staff in regard to the numbers of his ad- 
versary, and the common sense of the people was 
nearer right in its judgment than the computations 
of the general and his inefficient secret service. 
McClellan reported to the Secretary of War that 
Johnston's army, at the end of October, numbered 
v^i. v., 150,000, and that he would therefore require, to 
/o^nston, make an advance movement with the Army of the 
of Muita^ Potomac, a force of 240,000. Johnston's report of 
tions,"p.8i. that date shows an effective total of 41,000 men. 
It was useless to try to convince Greneral Mc- 
Clellan of the impossibility of such a concentration 
of troops in front of him; he simply added together 
the aggregates furnished by the guesses of his 
spies and implicitly believed the monstrous sum. 
It is worthy of notice that the Confederate general 
1861. rarely fell into the corresponding error. At the 
time that McClellan was quadrupling, in his imag- 
johnstop, ination, the rebel force, Johnston was estimating 
ofwHifterl the army under McClellan at exactly its real 

Opera- , ,-i 

tious,"p.8i. strength. 

Aware that his army was less than one-third as 
strong as the Union forces, Johnston contented 


himself with neutralizing the army at "Washington, chap. ix. 
passing the time in drilling and disciplining his 
troops, who, according to his own account, were 
seriously in need of it. He could not account for 
the inactivity of the Union army. Military oper- 
ations, he says, were practicable until the end of 
December ; but he was never molested. " Our mil- 
itary exercises had never been interrupted. No 
demonstrations were made by the troops of that 
army, except the occasional driving in of a Con- 
federate cavalry picket by a large mixed force. 
The Federal cavalry rarely ventured beyond the Johnston, 
protection of infantry, and the ground between ofMuuary 
the two armies had been less free to it than to that tion6,"™.'84, 
of the Confederate army," 

There was at no time any serious thought of at- 
tacking the Union forces in front of Washington. In 
the latter part of September (Sept. 30), General John- isei. 
ston had thought it possible for the Richmond Gov- 
ernment to give him such additional troops as to 
enable him to take the offensive, and Jefferson 
Davis had come to headquarters at Fairfax Court 
House to confer with the leading commanders on 
that subject. At this conference, held on the 1st 
of October, it was taken for granted that no attack 
could be made, with any chancje of success, upon 
the Union army in its position before Washington; 
but it was thought that, if enough force could be 
concentrated for the purpose, the Potomac might 
be crossed at the nearest ford, Maryland brought 
into rebellion, and a battle delivered in the rear of 
Washington, where McClellan would fight at a 
disadvantage. Mr. Davis asked the three generals 
present, Johnston, Beauregard, and G. W. Smith, 


CHAP. IX. beginning with the last, how many troops wonld 
be required for such a movement. Smith answered 
"fifty thousand"; Johnston and Beauregard both 
Johnston, said " sixty thousand " ; and all agreed that they 
ofMmta^^ would require a large increase of ammunition and 
tio2C"'pr76. means of transportation. Mr. Davis said it was im- 
possible to reenforee them to that extent, and the 
plan was dropped. 

It is hard to believe that during this same month 
of October, Gleneral McClellan, in a careful letter 
to the War Department, with an army, according 
vol'v.^. 9. to his own account, of " 147,695 present for duty," 
should have bewailed his numerical inferiority to 
the enemy, and begged that aU other departments 
should be stripped of their troops and stores to en- 
able him to make a forward movement, which he 
professed himself anxious to make not later than 
1861. the 25th of November, if the Grovernment would 
give him men enough to meet the enemy on equal 
terms. This singular infatuation, difficult to under- 
stand in a man of high intelligence and physically 
brave, as McClellan undoubtedly was, must not be 
lost sight of. It furnishes the sole explanation of 
many things otherwise inexplicable. He rarely esti- 
mated the force imn],ediately opposed to him at less 
than double its actual strength, and in his corre- 
spondence with the Government he persistently 
minimized his own force. This rule he applied only 
to the enemy in his immediate vicinity. He had 
no sympathy with commanders at a distance who 
asked for reenforcements. "When Eosecrans suc- 
ceeded him in Western Virginia, and wanted ad- 
ditional troops, General McClellan was shocked at 
the unreasonable request. When Buell informed 


him that W. T. Sherman insisted that two hundred ohap. ix. 
thousand men were needed in the West, he handed 
the letter to Mr. Lincoln, who was sitting in his head- 
quarters at the moment, with the remark, " The w. r. 
man is crazy." Every man sent to any other de- I'm." 
partment he regarded as a sort of robbery of the 
Army of the Potomac. 

AU his demands were complied with to the full 
extent of the power of the Government. Not only 
in a material but in a moral sense as well, the 
President gave him everything that he could. In 
addition to that mighty army, he gave him his 
fullest confidence and support. All through the 
autumn he stood by him, urging him in private to 
lose no time, but defending him in public against 
the popular impatience ; and when winter came on, 
and the voice of Congress, nearly unanimous in 
demanding active operations, added its authorita- 
tive tones to the clamor of the country, the Presi- 
dent endangered his own popularity by insisting 
that the general should be allowed to take his time 
for an advance. 

In the latter part of December, McCleUan, as isei. 
already stated, fell seriously ill, and the enforced 
paralysis of the army that resulted from this ill- 
ness, and lasted several weeks, added a keener edge 
to the public anxiety. The President painfully 
appreciated how much of Justice there was in the 
general criticism, which he was doing all that he 
could to allay. He gave himself, night and day, to 
the study of the military situation. He read a large 
number of strategical works. He pored over the 
reports from the various departments and districts 
of the field of war. He held long conferences with 



Chap. IX. eminent generals and admirals, and astonished 
them by the extent of his special knowledge and 
the keen intelligence of his questions. He at last 
convinced himself that there was no necessity for 
any further delay ; that the Army of the Potomac 
was as nearly ready as it ever would be to take the 
field against the enemy ; and, feeling that he could 
1862. not wait any longer, on the 10th of January, after 
calling at General McClellan's house and learning 
that the general was unable to see him, he sent for 
Generals McDowell and Franklin, wishing to take 
counsel with them in regard to the possibility of 
beginning active operations with the army before 
Washington. General McDowell has preserved an 
accurate report of this conference. The President 
said that he was in great distress ; to use his own 
expression : " If something were not soon done, the 
bottom would be out of the whole affair; and if 
General McClellan did not want to use the army he 
'^LUe of ' would like to borrow it, provided he could see how 
p. 773.' it could be made to do something." 

In answer to a direct question put by the Presi- 
dent to General McDowell, that accomplished 
soldier gave a frank and straightforward expression 
of his conviction that by an energetic movement 
upon both flanks of the enemy — a movement ren- 
dered entirely practicable by the superior numbers 
of the Union army — he could be forced from his 
works and compelled to accept battle on terms 
favorable to us. General Franklin rather favored 
an attack upon Eichmond by way of York Eiver. 
A question arising as to the possibility of obtain- 
ing the necessary transportation, the President 
directed both generals to return the next even- 


ing, and in tlie mean time to inform themselves chap. ix. 
thoroughly as to the matter in question. They 
spent the following day in this duty, and went the 
next evening to the Executive Mansion with what 
information they had been able to procure, and 
submitted a paper in which they both agreed that, 
in view of the time and means required to take the 
army to a distant base, operations could now best 
be undertaken from the present base, substantially 
as proposed by McDowell. The Secretaries of State 
and of the Treasury, who were present, coincided 
in this view, and the Postmaster-Greneral, Mr. 
Blair, alone opposed it. They separated to meet 
the next day at three o'clock. General Meigs, hav- 
ing been called into conference, concurred in the 
opinion that a movement from the present base 
was preferable; but no definite resolution was 
taken, as General McCleUan was reported as fully 
recovered from his illness, and another meeting 
was arranged for Monday, the 13th, at the White 
House, where the three members of the Cabinet 
already mentioned, with McDowell, Franklin, Meigs, 
and General McCleUan himself, were present. 

At the request of the President, McDowell made 
a statement of what he and Franklin had done 
under Mr. Lincoln's orders, and gave his reasons 
for advising a movement to the front. He spoke 
with great courtesy and deference towards his 
superior officer, and made an apology for the posi- 
tion in which he stood. McCleUan was not inclined 
to relieve the situation of any awkwardness there 
might be in it. He merely said, " coldly, if not 
curtly," to McDowell, " Tou are entitled to have 
any opinion you please," and made no further re- 


CHAP. IX. mark or comment. The President spoke somewhat 
at length on the matter, and General McClellan 
said very briefly that " the case was so clear a blind 
man could see it," and went off instinctively upon 
the inadequacy of his forces. The Secretary of the 
Treasury, whose sympathies were with that section 
of his party which had already lost all confidence 
in General McClellan, asked him point-blank what 
he intended to do with the army and when he 
intended doing it. A long silence ensued. Even if 
the question had been a proper one, it is doubtful 
whether General McClellan would have answered 
it; under the circumstances, it must have re- 
quired some self-control for him to have contented 
himself with merely evading it. He said that BueU, 
in Kentucky, must move first ; and then refused to 
answer the question unless ordered to do so. The 
President asked him if he counted upon any par- 
ticular time, not asking what the time was — but 
had he in his own mind any particular time fixed 
when a movement could be begun 1 This question 
was evidently put as affording a means of closing 
a conference which was becoming disagreeable if 
not dangerous. McClellan promptly answered in 
the afi&rmative, and the President rejoined, " Then 
I wiU adjourn this meeting." 

It is a remarkable fact that although the plan 
recommended by these generals was exactly the 
plan suggested six weeks before by the President 
to McClellan, neither of them made the slightest 
reference to that incident. That Mr. Lincoln did 
not refer to a matter so close to his heart is a strik- 
ing instance of his reticence and his magnanimity ; 
that General McClellan never mentioned it would 


seem to show that lie thought so little of the matter chap. ix. 
as to have forgotten it. He seemed also to have 
thought little of this conference ; he makes no refer- 
ence to it in his report. He says, referring to this 
period : "About the middle of January, 1862, upon 
recovering from a severe illness, I found that ex- 
cessive anxiety for an immediate movement of the 
Army of the Potomac had taken possession of the 
minds of the Administration." 

The last words of the phrase refer not only to the 
President, but to Mr. Stanton, the new Secretary 
of War, who began as soon as he took charge of 
his department to ply the commander of the army 
with continual incitements to activity. All sug- 
gestions of this sort, whether coming from the 
Grovernment, Congress, or the press, General Mc- 
Clellan received with surprise and displeasure; and 
the resentment and vexation of his immediate 
friends and associates found vent in expressions of 
contempt for unmilitary critics, which, being re- 
ported, only increased the evil that provoked them. 
He at last laid before the President his plan for at- 
tacking Eichmond by the lower Chesapeake, which 
the President disapproved, having previously con- 
vinced himself of the superior merit of the plan for 
a direct movement agreed upon by Generals Mc- 
Dowell, Franklin, and Meigs, who were ignorant of 
the fact that it was his. Further delay ensued, the 
President not being wilhng to accept a plan con- 
demned by his own judgment and by the best pro- 
fessional opinion that he could obtain, and General 
McClellan being equally reluctant to adopt a plan 
that was not his own. 

The President at last, at the end of his patience, 


Chap. IX. convinced that nothing would be done unless he 
intervened by a positive command, issued on the 
1862. 27th of January his " General War Order, No. 1." 
He wrote it without consultation with any one, and 
read it to the Cabinet, not for their sanction, but 
for their information. The order directed " that 
the 22d day of February, 1862, be the day for a 
general movement of the land and naval forces of 
the United States against the insurgent forces ; that 
especially the army at and about Fortress Monroe, 
the Army of the Potomac, the Army of Western 
Virginia, the army near MunfordviUe, Kentucky, 
the army and flotilla at Cairo, and a naval force in 
the Gulf of Mexico, be ready to move on that day ; 
that all other forces, both land and naval, with 
their respective commanders, obey existing orders 
for the time, and be ready to obey additional orders 
when duly given; that the heads of departments, 
and especially the Secretaries of War and of the 
Navy, with all their subordinates, and the General- 
in-Chief, with all other commanders and subordi- 
order,' uatcs of land and naval forces, will severally be 

1862. w.'e. held to their strict and full responsibilities for 
Vol. v., . „ , . 

p-«- prompt execution of this order." 

Four days later, as a necessary result of this gen- 
eral summons to action, a special instruction, called 
" President's Special War Order, No 1," was issued 
to General McClellan, commanding "that all the 
disposable force of the Army of the Potomac, after 
providing safely for the defense of Washington, be 
formed into an expedition for the immediate object 
Ibid., of seizing and occupying a point upon the railroad 
■^1862!^' southwestward of what is known as Manassas 
v., p. ti. ' Junction, all details to be in the discretion of the 

yi^ '.'^h^ 

-Ml-' _! 


■■>'.. '^ 

aa:xo . f^L^u^ 


Commander-in-Chief, and the expedition to move chap. ix. 
before or on the 22d day of February next." This 1862. 
is the President's suggestion of December 1, put 
at last in the form of a command. 

It would not have been characteristic of General 
McOlellan to accept such an order as final, nor of 
Mr. Lincoln to refuse to listen to his objections 
and to a full statement of his own views. The 
President even went so far as to give him, in the 
following note, dated February 3, a schedule of 
points on which he might base his objections and 
develop his views. 

My deab Sm : You and I have distinct and different 
plans for a movement of the Army of the Potomac — 
yours to be down the Chesapeake, up the Eappahan- 
nock to Urbana, and across land to the terminus of the 
railroad on the York River ; mine to move directly to a 
point on the railroads southwest of Manassas. 

If you will give me satisfactory answers to the follow- 
ing questions, I shall gladly yield my plan to yours : 

First. Does not your plan involve a greatly larger ex- 
penditure of time and money than mine ? 

Second. Wherein is a victory more certain by your 
plan than mine? M^cTe^an 

Third. Wherein is a victory more valuable by your Feb. 3, isei 
plan than mine ? voi. v.. 

Fourth. In fact, would it not be less valuable in this, ^sdeli^' 
that it would break no great line of the enemy's com- ^"^i^^' 
munications, while mine would ? w. e. 

Vol V 

Fifth. In case of disaster, would not a retreat be more p. 713." 
difficult by your plan than mine ? 

This elicited from General McClellan a long 
letter, dated the same day, in which he dwelt with 
great emphasis on aU the possible objections that 
could lie against a direct movement from Wash- 
ington, and insisted with equal energy upon the 

Vol. v.— 11 


Chap. IX. advantages of a campaign by the lower Chesapeake. 
He rejects without argument the suggestion of an 
attack on both flanks of the enemy, on the ground 
of insufficient force — a ground that we have seen to 
be visionary. He says that an attack on the left 
flank of the enemy is impracticable on account of 
the length of the line, and confines his statement 
to a detail of the dangers and difficulties of an 
attack on the Confederate right by the line of the 
Occoquan. He insists that he will be met at every 
point by a determined resistance. To use his own 
words, he " brings out, in bold relief, the great ad- 
vantage possessed by the enemy in the strong central 
position he occupies, with roads diverging in every 
direction, and a strong line of defense enabling 
him to remain on the defensive, with a small force 
on one flank, while he concentrates everything on 
the other for a decisive action." Even if he suc- 
ceeded in such a movement, he thought little of its 
results ; they would be merely " the possession of 
the field of battle, the evacuation of the line of 
the upper Potomac by the enemy, and the moral 
effect of the victory." 

They would not end the war — the result he seemed 
to propose to himself in the one decisive battle he 
expected to fight somewhere. Turning to his own 
plan, he hoped by moving from his new base on the 
lower Chesapeake to accomplish this enormous and 
final success — to force the enemy either " to beat 
us in a position selected by ourselves, disperse, or 
pass beneath the Caudine forks." The point which 
he thought promised the most brilliant results was 
Urbana, on the lower Eappahannock ; "but one 
march from West Point [on the York River, at 


the junction of the Pamunkey and Mattapony], chap, ix, 
the key of that region, and thence but two marches 
to Richmond." He enjoys the prospect of brilliant 
and rapid movements, by which the rebel armies 
shall be cut off in detail, Eichmond taken, and the 
rebellion brought to a close. He says finally : " My 
judgment as a general is clearly in favor of this 
project. . . So much am I in favor of the Southern 
line of operation, that I would prefer the move from 
Fortress Monroe as a base — as a certain though w. e. 

Vol. v.. 

less brilliant movement than that from Urbana — to pp. 42-45. 
an attack upon Manassas." 

Most of the assumptions upon which this letter 
was based have since proved erroneous. The force 
which McClellan ascribed to Johnston existed only 
in his imagination and in the wild stories of his 
spies. His force was about three times that of 
Johnston, and was therefore not insufficient for an 
attack upon one flank of the enemy while the other 
was held in check. It is now clearly known that 
the determined resistance that he counted upon, if 
he should attack by the line of the Occoquan, 
would not have been made. Q-eneral Johnston says 
that about the middle of February he was sent for 
in great haste to Richmond, and on arriving there 
was told by Jefferson Davis that the Grovernment Johnston, 
thought of withdrawing the army to " a less exposed o/Sa^ 
position." Johnston replied that the withdrawal of tiou8,"pr96. 
the army from Centreville would be necessary be- 
fore McClellan's invasion, — which was to be looked 
for as soon as the roads were practicable, — but 
thought that it might be postponed for the present. 
He left Richmond, however, with the understand- 
ing on his part that the army was to fall back as 


CHAP. IX. soon as practicable, and the moment he returned to 
his camp he began his preparations to retire at once 
from a position which both he and the Richmond 
Government considered absolutely untenable. On 
1862- the 22d of February, Johnston says, " Orders were 
given to the chiefs, of the quartermaster's and sub- 
sistence departments to remove the military prop- 
erty in the depots at Manassas Junction and its 
dependencies to Gordonsville as quickly as pos- 
sible." The railroads were urged to work to then- 
utmost capacity. The line of the Occoquan, against 
which McClellan was arguing so strenuously to the 
President, was substantially the route by which 
Johnston expected him, believing, like the thorough 
soldier that he was, that it would be taken, because 
" invasion by that route would be the most difficult 
to meet " ; and knowing that he could not cope with 
the Federal army north of the Rappahannock, he 
was ready to retire behind that stream at the first 
news of McClellan's advance. 

Everything now indicates that if McClellan had 

chosen to obey the President's order and to move 

upon the enemy in his front in the latter part of 

1862. February-^ or the first days of March, one of the 

1 The following extract shows you any gunljoats to aid in the 
that General MeClellan himself attack on the batteries ? ' ' No, 
had some vague thought of mov- they are not needed ; all I want is 
ingatthattime: 'Tebruarycame, transportation and canal-boats, 
and on the 13th General MeClel- of which I have plenty that wiU 
Ian said to me, ' In ten days I shall answer.' I did not think it worth 
be in Richmond.' A little sur- while to reply ; but made a note 
prised at the near approach of a of the date and waited. The ten 
consummation so devoutly to be days passed away ; no movement, 
wished, I asked, 'What is yovir and no preparation for a move- 
plan, General 9' ' Oh,' said he, ment, had been made." — From a 
'I mean to cross the river, attack memorandum written by Secre- 
and carry their batteries, and tary Chase. Schuckers, "Life of 
push on after the enemy.' ' Have S. P. Chase," p. 446. 


cheapest victories ever gained by a fortunate gen- chap. ix. 
eral awaited him. He would have struck an enemy 
greatly inferior in strength, equipment, and disci- 
pline, in the midst of a difB.cult retreat already 
begun, encumbered by a vast accumulation of pro- 
visions and stores,^ which would have become the 
prize of the victor. He would not have won the 
battle that was to end the war. That sole battle 
was a dream of youth and ambition ; the war was 
not of a size to be finished by one fight. But he 
would have gained, at slight cost, what would have 
been in reality a substantial success, and would 
have appeared, in its effect upon public opinion 
and the morale of the army, an achievement of 
great importance. The enemy, instead of quietly 
retiring at his own time, would have seemed to be 
driven beyond the Eapidan. The clearing the 
Potomac of hostile camps and batteries above and 
below "Washington, and the capture of millions of 
pounds of stores, would have afforded a relief to 
the anxious public mind that the National cause 
sorely needed at that time, and which General 
McClellan needed most of all.^ 

1 The subsistence department Clellan against the President 
had collected at Manassas Juno- where it is possible, says on this 
tion more than three million point: "Had Johnston stood, a 
pounds of provisions. They had battle with good prospect of sue- 
also two million pounds of meat cess might have been delivered, 
at Thoroughfare Gap, besides But had he, as there was great 
large herds of cattle and hogs, likelihood he would do, and as it 
This accumulation was against is now certain he would have 
■the wish and to the great em- done, fallen back from Manassas 
barrassment of General John- to the line of the Eapidan his 
ston. — Johnston, "Narrative of compulsory retirement would 
Military Operations," pp. 98 and have been esteemed a positive 
99. victory to the Union arms." — 

2 Mr. William Swinton, who Swinton, " Army of the Poto- 
habitually takes sides with Mo- mac," p. 73. 


Chap. IX. These facts, that are now so clear to every one, 
were not so evident then ; and although the Presi- 
dent and the leading men in the Government and in 
Congress were strongly of the opinion that the plan 
favored by Mr. Lincoln and approved by McDowell, 
Meigs, and Franklin was the right one, it was a 
question of the utmost gravity whether he should 
force the Greneral-in-Chief to adopt it against his 
obstinate protest. It would be too much to ask 
that any government should assume such a respon- 
sibility and risk. On the other hand, the removal 
of the general from the command of the Army of 
the Potomac would have been a measure not less 
serious. There was no successor ready who was 
his equal in accomplishments, in executive effi- 
ciency, or in popularity among the soldiers. Be- 
sides this, and in spite of his exasperating slowness, 
the President still entertained for him a strong 
feeling of personal regard. He therefore, after 
much deUberation and deep distress of mind, 
yielded his convictions, gave up his plan, and 
adopted that of General McClellan for 'a movement 
by the lower Chesapeake. He never took a resolu- 
tion which cost him more in his own feelings and 
in the estimation of his supporters in Congress and 
in the country at large. He made no explanation 
of the reasons that induced this resolution; he 
thought it better to suffer any misrepresentation 
rather than to communicate his own grave misgiv- 
ings to the country. The Committee on the Con- 
duct of the War, who were profoundly grieved and 
displeased by this decision, made only this grim 
reference to it: "Your committee have no evidence, 
either oral or documentary, of the discussions that 


ensued, or of the arguments tliat were submitted to chap. ix. 
the consideration of the President, that led him to ^^ ^^ 
relinquish his own line of operations and consent commiSee 
to the one proposed by Greneral McCleUan, except conduct of 
the result of a council of war held in February, Parti.,pfio. 

This councU, which, the committee say, was the 
first ever called by McCleUan, and then only at the 
direction of the President, was composed of twelve 
general officers — McDowell, Sumner, Heintzelman, 
Barnard, Keyes, Fitz-John Porter, FranMin, W. F. 
Smith, McCall, Blenker, Andrew Porter, and Naglee 
of Hooker's division. The first four voted against 
the Urbana plan ; Keyes only favored it on condi- 
tion that the Potomac batteries should first be 
reduced. The rest voted for it without conditions. 
This was the council afterwards referred to by 
Stanton when he said, " We saw ten generals afraid dW- 
to fight." 

This plan of campaign having been definitely 
adopted, Mr. Lincoln urged it forward as eagerly 
as if it had been his own. John Tucker, one of the 
Assistant Secretaries of War, was charged by the 
President and Mr. Stanton with the entire task of 
transporting the Army of the Potomac to its new 
base, and the utmost diligence was enjoined upon 
him. Quartermasters Rufus Ingalls and Henry C. 
Hodges were assigned to assist him. We shall see 
that Tucker performed the prodigious task intrusted 
to him in a manner not excelled by any similar feat 
in the annals of the world. 

But meanwhile there were two things that the 
President was anxious to have done, and Greneral 
McCleUan undertook them. One was to reopen 


Chap. IX. the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Eailroad, the 
other to clear out the rebel batteries that still ob- 
structed the navigation of the Potomac. For the 
first, extensive preparations were made: a large 
body of troops was collected at Harper's Ferry; 
canal-boats were brought there in sufficient quantity 
to make a permanent bridge. General McCleUan 
went to the place and, finding everything satisfac- 
tory for the operation, telegraphed for a large 
additional force of cavalry, artillery, and a division 
of infantry to rendezvous at once at Harper's 
Ferry, to cross as soon as the bridge was com- 
pleted, which would be only the work of a day, and 
then to push on to Winchester and Strasburg. It 
was only on the morning of the next day, when the 
attempt was made to pass the canal-boats through 
the lift-lock, that it was discovered they were some 
six inches too wide to go through. The general 
^Diary thus fouud that Ms permanent bridge, so long 
expedition planned, and from which so much had been ex- 
locijaw. pected, was impossible. He countermanded his 
order for the troops; contented himself with a 
reconnaissance to Charlestown and Martinsbm-g, 
and returned to Washington, as he says, " well 
satisfied with what had been accomplished." He 
was much surprised at finding that his satisfaction 
was not shared by the President. Mr. Lincoln's 
slow anger was thoroughly roused by this ridicu- 
lous outcome of an important enterprise, and he 
received the general on his return in a manner 
that somewhat disturbed his complacency. 

McCleUan went on in his leisurely way, prepar- 
ing for a movement upon the batteries near the 
Occoquan, undisturbed by the increasing signs of 


electric perturbation at the Executive Mansion and chap. ix. 
tlie Capitol, which, answered but faintly to the 
growing excitement in the North. The accumu- 
lating hostility and distrust of General McClellan, 
— totally unjust as it affected his loyalty and 
honor and his ardent desire to serve his country 
in the way that he thought best, — though almost 
entirely unknown to him, was poured upon the 
President, the heads of Q-overnment, and the lead- 
ing Members of Congress in letters and conver- 
sations and newspaper leaders. Mr. Lincoln felt 
the injustice of much of this criticism, but he also 
felt powerless to meet it, unless some measures 
were adopted to force the general into an activity 
which was as necessary to his own reputation as to 
the national cause. The 22d of February came and isea. 
passed, and the President's order to move on that 
day was not obeyed. McClellan's inertia prevailed 
over the President's anxious eagerness. 

On the 8th of March, Mr. Lincoln issued two 
more important General Orders. The first directed 
General McClellan to divide the Army of the Poto- 
mac into four army corps, to be commanded re- 
spectively by Generals Irvin McDowell, E. V. 
Sumner, S. P. Heintzelman, and E. D. Keyes ; the 
forces to be left in front of Washington were to be 
placed in command of General James S. Wads- 
worth. A fifth corps was to be formed, to be com- 
manded by General N. P. Banks. For months this 
measure had been pressed upon General McClellan 
by the Government. An army of 150,000 men, it 
was admitted, could not be adequately commanded 
by the machinery of divisions and brigades alone. 
But though McClellan accepted this view in 


CHAP. IX. principle, he could not be brought to put it into 
practice. He said that he would prefer to com- 
mand the army personally on its first campaign, 
and then select the corps commanders for their 
behavior in the field. The Grovernment thought 
better to make the organization at once, giving the 
command of corps to the ranking division com- 
manders. The fact that of the four generals chosen 
three had been in favor of an immediate move- 
ment against the enemy in front of "Washington 
will of course be considered as possessing a certain 
significance. It was usually regarded as a griev- 
ance by the partisans of General McCleUan. The 
other order is of such importance that we give it 

PREsmENT's General War Order, No. 3. 

ExECUTTOE Mansion, 
Washington, March 8, 1862. 

Ordered, That no change of the base of operations of 
the Army of the Potomac shall be made without leaving 
in and about Washington such a force as, in the opinion 
of the General-in-Chief and the commanders of army 
corps, shall leave said city entirely secure. 

That no more than two army corps (about fifty thou- 
sand troops) of said Army of the Potomac shall be moved 
en route for a new base of operations until the naviga- 
tion of the Potomac from Washington to the Chesapeake 
Bay shall be freed from enemy's batteries and other ob- 
structions, or until the President shall hereafter give 
express permission. That any movement as aforesaid, 
en route for a new base of operations, which may be 
ordered by the General-in-Chief, and which may be 
intended to move upon the Chesapeake Bay, shall begin 
to move upon the bay as early as the 18th of March, in- 
stant, and the General-in-Chief shall be responsible that 
it moves as early as that day. 


Ordered, That the Army and Navy cooperate in an im- chap. ix. 
mediate effort to capture the enemy's batteries upon the 
Potomac between Washington and the Chesapeake Bay. 

Abraham Lincoln. 

L. Thomas, Adjutant- General. 

This order has always been subject to the sever- 
est criticism from G-eneral McClellan's partisans; 
bnt if we admit that it was proper for the Presi- 
dent to issue any order at all, there can be no valid 
objection made to the substance of this one. It 
was indispensable that "Washington should be left 
secure ; it would have been madness to allow Gen- 
eral McCleUan to take all the troops to the Pen- 
insula, leaving the Potomac obstructed by the 
enemy's batteries so near the capital ; and the fix- 
ing of a date beyond which the beginning of the 
movement should not be postponed had been 
shown to be necessary by the exasperating experi- 
ence of the past eight months. The criticism so 
often made, that a general who required to have 
such orders as these given him should have been 
dismissed the service, is the most difficult of all to 
meet. Nobody felt so deeply as Mr. Lincoln the 
terrible embarrassment of having a general in com- 
mand of that magnificent army who was absolutely 
without initiative ; who answered every suggestion 
of advance with demands for reenforcements ; who 
met entreaties and reproaches with unending argu- 
ments to show the superiority of the enemy and 
the insufficiency of his own resources; and who 
yet possessed in an eminent degree the enthu- 
siastic devotion of his friends and the general 
confidence of the rank and file. There was so 
much of executive efficiency and ability about him 


CHAP. IX. that the President kept on hoping to the last 
that if he could once "get him started" he would 
then handle the army well and do great things 
with it. 




SUNDAY, the 9tli of March, was a day of swiftly chap. x. 
succeeding emotions at the Executive Mansion. 
The news of the havoc wrought by the Merrimac 
in Hampton Roads the day before arrived in 
the morning, and was received with profound 
chagrin by the calmest spirits, and with something 
like consternation by the more excitable. But in 
the afternoon astonishing tidings came to reverse 
the morning's depression. The first was of the 
timely arrivul of the Monitor, followed shortly, on 
the completion of the telegraph to Fort Monroe, 
by the news of her battle and victory. The exulta- 
tion of the Grovernment over this providential suc- 
cess was changed to amazement by the receipt of 
intelligence that the rebel batteries on the Potomac 
were already abandoned ; and the tale of surprises 
was completed by the news which came in the 
evening that the Confederate army had abandoned 
their works at Manassas, retreating southward. 
General McClellan was with the President and the 
Secretary of War when this message arrived, and 
he received it, as might have been expected, with 
incredulity, which at last gave way to stupefaction. 
He started at once across the river, ostensibly to 



Chap. X. verify the intelligence, and issued an order that 
night for an immediate advance of the army upon 
CentreviUe and Manassas. In the elaborate report 
by which he strove, a year after the fact, to shift 
from himself the responsibility of all errors, occurs 
this remarkable sentence : " The retirement of the 
enemy towards Eichmond had been expected as 
the natural consequence of the movement to the 
Peninsula, but their adoption of this course imme- 
diately on ascertaining that such a movement was 
intended, while it relieved me from the results of 
the undue anxiety of my superiors and attested the 
character of the design, was unfortunate in that 
the then almost impassable roads between our posi- 
tions and theirs deprived us of the opportunity for 
inflicting damage usually afforded by the with- 
Tff, E. drawal of a large army in the face of a powerful 
^s.'bi." adversary," 

This was the theory immediately adopted by him- 
self, propagated among his staff, communicated to 
the Prince de JoinviUe, who published it in France 
on his return there, and to the Comte de Paris, 
who, after twenty years, incorporated it in his his- 
tory — that the enemy, having heard of his scheme 
for going to the Peninsula, through the indis- 
cretion of the Grovernment, had suddenly taken 
flight from Manassas. General McClellan asserts 
this in his report a dozen times ; he reiterates it as 
if he felt that his reputation depended upon it. If it 
is not true, then in the long contest with the Presi- 
dent in regard to a direct attack from "Washington 
the President was right and McClellan was wrong. 

The straightforward narrative of General John- 
ston, and the official orders and correspondence of 



tlie Confederate officers, show that there is not the 
slightest foundation for this theory of Gleneral Mc- 
Clellan's. They show, on the contrary, that the 
rebel government, nearly a month before this, had 
concluded that Johnston's position was untenable ; 
that Johnston had shared in the belief, and had 
begun his preparations to retire on the 22d of Feb- 
ruary; that instead of ascertaining McClellan's 
intention to move to the lower Chesapeake, he 
had been of the opinion that McOlellan would ad- 
vance upon the line designated by Mr. Lincoln, 
because it was the best line for attack and the 
most difficult for the rebels to defend; that he 
knew McClellan's enormous superiority in numbers, 
and did not purpose to risk everything in resisting 
him there ; that on the 5th of March, having re- 
ceived information of unusual activity in our army 
in the direction of Dumfries, he gave his final 
orders, and on the 7th began to move. He pro- 
ceeded with the greatest deliberation, writing to 
one of his generals on the 15th, " McClellan seems 
not to value time especially." His subordinates 
were equally convinced that the Confederate right 
was the object of the Union advance; Holmes 
wrote in that sense to Eobert E. Lee on the 15th 
of March. Lee, who was then directing military 
operations in Eichmond, answered him on the 
16th, concurring in this view, recognizing the "ad- 
vantages" of such a plan, and saying, "that he 
will advance upon our hne as soon as he can, I 
have no doubt." Until the 18th of March Johnston 
did not suspect that McClellan was not advancing 
to strike his right flank ; he then fell back behind 
the Rapidan, to guard against other contingencies. 

Chap. X. 

" Narrative 

of Military 
p. 102. 

W. E. 
Vol. v., 
p. 1101. 


chap.x. Even while our vast army was passing down the 

Potomac he could not make out where it was going. 

"NSti^e So late as the early days of April, Jefferson Davis 

ofMiUtary . , , ,,%m, in , i j_- j_- j 

Opera- was lu doubt as to McClellan's destmation, and 

tione," - 

p. 109. Johnston only heard of the advance upon York- 
1862, town about the 5th of that month. 

By the very test, therefore, to which G-eneral 
McClellan appeals in the paragraph quoted above, 
his conduct during the autumn and winter stands 
finally condemned. By their contemporaneous let- 
ters and orders, by their military movements in an 
important crisis, by their weU-considered historical 
narratives, the Confederate Government and gen- 
erals have established these facts beyond all possi- 
bility of future refutation : that the plan for a direct 
attack, suggested by Lincoln and rejected by 
McCleUan, was a sound and practicable one ; it was 
the plan they expected and dreaded to see adopted, 
because it was the one easiest to accomplish and 
hardest to resist. When they fancied that they 
saw the Army of the Potomac preparing to move, 
it was this plan alone of which they thought ; and 
they immediately gave up their position, as they 
had been for weeks preparing to do, at the first 
intimation of a forward movement. The long 
delay of five months, during three of which the 
roads were in unusually fine condition,^ during all 

1 Pollard's History, Vol. I., p. From the admirable monograph 
184, says: "A long, lingering of Major-General A. S. Webb, 
Indian summer, with roads more Chief-of-Staff of the Army of the 
hard and skies more beautiful Potomac, entitled "The Penin- 
than Virginia had seen for many sula," we quote a sentence on this 
a year, invited the enemy to ad- subject : " During all the time 
vance." Johnston, "Narrative," Johnston's army lay at Centre- 
page 84, says that the roads were ville insolently menacing Wash- 
practicable until the last of De- ington . . it never presented an 
cember. effective strength of over fifty 

SEPTEMBER 1-20, 1862. 

Extensive additions to the defenses of tlie west bauk of the Totomao were made 
subsequently. Forts Alexander, Franklin, and Eipley were afterward united and 
called redoubts Davis, Kirhy, and Cross, receiving later the name of Fort Sumner. 
Forts De Kalb, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Blenker were afterward changed 
respectively to Btroug, Stevens, Eeuo, and Reynolds. See also page 168, Vol. IX. 


of whicli the Union forces were as three to one of chap. x. 
the enemy, remains absolutely without excuse. It 
can only be explained by that idiosyncrasy of Gen- 
eral McClellan which led him always to double or 
treble the number of an enemy and the obstacles in 
his immediate vicinity. 

It is little blame to Confederate generals that 
they could not divine what General McClellan was 
doing with the grand army of the Union during 
the week that followed the evacuation of Manassas. 
No soldier could have been expected to guess the 
meaning of that promenade of a vast army to 
CentreviUe and Manassas, and back to Alexandria. 
In spite of the " impassable roads," they made the 
journey with ease and celerity. The question why 
the whole army was taken has never been satisfac- 
torily answered. General McCleUan's explanation 
afterwards was that he wanted the troops to havQ a 
little experience of marching and to " get rid of 
their impedimenta.'" He claims in his report to have 
found on this excursion a fuU justification of his 
extravagant estimate of the enemy's fgrce, and 
speaks with indignation of the calumnious stories 
of " quaker-guns " which were rife in the press at 
the time. Every one now knows how fatally false 
the estimate was ; and as to the " quaker-guns," 
this is what General Johnston says about them: 
" As we had not artillery enough for their works 
and for the army fighting elsewhere at the same 
time, rough wooden imitations of guns were made, 
and kept near the embrasures, in readiness for 

thousand men. With more than cious weeks, under the delusion 
twice that number McClellan re- that he was confronted hj a force 
mained inactive for many pre- nearly equal to his own." 

Vol. v.— 12 


Chap. X. exhibition in them. To conceal the absence of 
""^NSS^'e carriages, the embrasures were covered with sheds 
"'^evt^ made of bushes. These were the quaker-guns 
%T»." afterwards noticed in Northern papers." 

Without further discussing where the fault lay, 
the fact is beyond dispute that when the evacuation 
of Manassas was known throughout the country, 
the military reputation of Greneral McClellan re- 
ceived serious damage. No explanation made at 
the time, and, we may add, none made since then, 
could account satisfactorily for such a mistake as 
to the condition of the enemy, such utter ignorance 
as to his movements. The first result of it was the 
removal of Greneral McClellan from the command 
of the armies of the United States. This resolution 
was taken by the President himself, on the 11th of 
March. On that day he prepared the order known 
as " President's War Order, No. 3," and in the even- 
ing called together Mr. Seward, Mr. Chase, and Mr. 
Stanton, and read it to them. It was in these 
words : 

PREsroENT's War Order, No. 3. 

Executive Mansion, 
WASfflNGTON, Marcli 11, 1862. 

Major-General McClellan having personally taken the 
field at the head of the Army of the Potomac, until 
otherwise ordered he is relieved from the command of 
the other military departments, he retaining command of 
the Department of the Potomac. 

Ordered further, That the departments now under the 
respective commands of Generals Halleck and Hunter, 
together with so much of that under General Buell as 
lies west of a north and south line indefinitely drawn 
through KnoxvUle, Tenn., be consolidated and designated 
the Department of the Mississippi, and that, until other- 



wise ordered, Major-General Halleck have command of 
said department. 

Ordered also, That the country west of the Department 
of the Potomac and east of the Department of the Mis- 
sissippi be a military department, to be called the Moun- 
tain Department, and that the same be commanded by 
Major-Greneral Fremont. That all the commanders of 
departments, after the receipt of this order by them re- 
spectively, report severally and directly to the Secretary of 
War, and that prompt, full, and frequent reports will be 
expected of aU and each of them. Abraham Lincoln. 

All the members of tlie Cabinet present heartily 
approved the order. The President gave his reason 
for issuing it while General McClellan was absent 
from Washington — a reason indeed apparent in 
the opening words, which were intended to take 
from the act any appearance of disfavor. The gen- 
eral's intimate biographers have agreed that it was 
because the President was afraid to do it while the 
general was in Washington. The manner of the 
order, which was meant as a kindness, was taken 
as a grievance. Mr. Seward advised that the order 
be issued in the name of the Secretary of War, but 
this proposition met with a decided protest from 
Mr. Stanton. He said there was some friction 
already between himself and the general's friends, 
and he feared that the act, if signed by him, would 
be attributed to personal feeling. The President 
decided to take the responsibility. In a manly 
and courteous letter the next day, McClellan ac- 
cepted the disposition thus made of him. 

On the 13th of March, at Fairfax Court House, 
Greneral McClellan called together the fom" corps 
commanders who were with him and submitted to 
them for discussion the President's order of the 8th. 

Chap. X. 

W. E. 

Vol. v., 

p. 54. 

J. H., 


CHAP. X. The results of the council cannot be more briefly 
stated than in the following memorandum, drawn 
Tip by the generals who took part in it : 

A council of the generals commanding army corps at 
the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac were of 
the opinion : 

I. That the enemy having retreated from Manassas to 
GordonsviUe, behind the Rappahannock and Rapidan, it 
is the opinion of the generals commanding army corps 
that the operations to be carried on wiU be best under- 
taken from Old Point Comfort, between the York and 
James rivers, provided — 

First. That the enemy's vessel Merrimac can be neu- 
tralized ; 

Second. That the means of transportation, suf&cient for 
an immediate transfer of the force to its new base, can 
be ready at Washington and Alexandria to move down 
the Potomac; and 

Third. That a naval auxiliary force can he had to 
silence, or aid in silencing, the enemy's batteries on the 
York River. 

Fourth. That the force to be left to cover "Washington 
shall be such as to give an entire feeling of security for 
its safety from menace. (Unanimous.) 

II. If the foregoing cannot be, the army should then 
be moved against the enemy behind the Rappahannock 
at the earliest possible moment, and the means for re- 
constructing bridges, repairing railroads, and stocking 
them with materials sufi&cient for supplying the army 
should at once be collected for both the Orange and Alex- 
andria and Aquia and Richmond railroads. (Unanimous.) 

N. B. — That with the forts on the right bank of the 
Potomac fully garrisoned, and those on the left bank oc- 
cupied, a covering force in front of the Virginia line of 
25,000 men would suffice. (Keyes, Heintzelman, and Mc- 
Dowell.) A total of 40,000 men for the defense of the 
city would suffice. (Sumner.) 

These conclusions of the council were conveyed 
to Washington, and the President on the same day 


sent back to Greneral McClellan Ms approval, and chap. x. 
his peremptory orders for the instant execution of 
the plan proposed, in these words signed by the 
Secretary of War : " The President having con- 
sidered the plan of operations agreed upon by 
youi'selE and the commanders of army corps, 
makes no objection to the same, but gives the 
following directions as to its execution: First. 
Leave such force at Manassas Junction as shall 
make it entirely certain that the enemy shall not 
repossess himself of that position and line of 
communication. Second. Leave Washington en- 
tirely secure. Third. Move the remainder of the 
force down the Potomac, choosing a new base at 
Fort Monroe, or anywhere between here and there, 
or, at all events, move such remainder of the army 
at once in pursuit of the enemy by some route." 

No commander could ask an order more unre- 
stricted, more unhampered, than this. Choose 
your own route, your own course, only go ; seek 
the enemy, and fight him. 

Under the orders of John Tucker of the War De- 
partment, a fleet of transports had been preparing 
since the 27th of February. It is one of the many 
grievances mentioned by Greneral McClellan in his w. e. 
report, that this work was taken entirely out of ^p.'so." 
his hands and committed to those of Mr. Tucker ; 
he thus estops himself from claiming any credit 
for one of the most brilliant feats of logistics ever 
recorded. On the 27th of February, Mr. Tucker re- 
ceived his orders ; on the 17th of March, the troops 
began their embarkation ; on the 5th of April, Mr. 
Tucker made his final report, announcing that he p':"^.' 
had transported to Fort Monroe, from Washington, 


CHAP.x. Perryville, and Alexandria, "121,500 men, 14,592 
animals, 1150 wagons, 44 batteries, 74 ambulances, 
besides pontoon bridges, telegTaph materials, and 
the enormous quantity of equipage, etc., required 
for an army of such magnitude. The only loss," 
he adds, " of which I have heard is eight mules and 
nine barges, which latter went ashore in a gale 
within a few miles of Fort Monroe, the cargoes 
being saved." He is certainly justified in closing 
his narrative with these words : "I respectfully but 
confidently submit that, for economy and celerity 
of movement, this expedition is without a parallel 
on record." ^ 

The first corps to embark was Heintzelman's ; he 
took with him from General McClellan the most 
stringent orders to do nothing more than to select 
camping-grounds, send out reconnaissances, en- 
gage guides and spies, " but to make no important 
move in advance." The other forces embarked in 

Report. ' tm-n, McDowell's corps being left to the last ; and 
before it was ready to sail, G-eneral McClellan 
himself started on the 1st of April, with the 
headquarters on the steamer Commodore, leaving 
behind him a state of things that made it neces- 
sary to delay the departure of McDowell's troops 
stiU further. 

In all the orders of the President it had been 
clearly stated that, as an absolute condition pre- 
cedent to the army being taken away to a new 
base, enough troops should be left at Washington 
to make that city absolutely safe, not only from 

1 The means by which this work was done were as follows : 

113 steamers, each at an average price per day $215.10 

188 schooners, each at an average price per day 24.45 

88 barges, each at an average price per day 14.27 


capture, but from serious menace. The partisans chap. x. 
of General McClellan then, and ever since then, 
have contended that, as Washington could not be 
seriously attacked without exposing Richmond to 
capture, undue importance was attached to it in 
these orders. It would be a waste of words to 
argue with people who place the political and stra- 
tegic value of these two cities on a level. The 
capture of Richmond, without the previous virtual 
destruction of the rebel armies, would have been, 
it is true, an important achievement, but the seiz- 
ure of Washington by the rebels would have been 
a fatal blow to the Union cause. General McClel- 
lan was in the habit of saying that if the rebel 
army should take Washington while he was at 
Richmond they could never get back; but it might 
be said that the general who would permit Wash- 
ington to be taken could not be relied on to 
prevent the enemy from doing what they liked 
afterwards. Mr. Lincoln was unquestionably right 
in insisting that Washington must not only be ren- 
dered safe from capture, but must also be without 
the possibility of serious danger. This view was 
adopted by the council of corps commanders, who 
met on the 13th of March at Fairfax Court House. 
They agreed unanimously upon this principle, and 
then, so as to leave no doubt as to details, three of 
the four gave the opinion that after the forts on 
the Virginia side were fully garrisoned, and those 
on the Maryland side occupied, a covering force of 
25,000 men would be required. 

The morning after General McClellan had sailed 
for Fort Monroe, the Secretary of War was aston- 
ished to hear from General James S. Wadsworth, 


CHAP.x. the military Governor of the District of Washing- 
ton, that McClellan had left him present for duty 
only 19,000 men, and that from that force he had 
orders to detach eight good regiments. He further 
reported that his command was "entirely inade- 
quate to the important duty to which it was as- 
signed." As General Wads worth was a man of 
the highest intelligence, courage, and calm judg- 
ment, the President was greatly concerned by this 
emphatic statement. Orders were at once given to 
General E. A. Hitchcock, an accomplished veteran 
officer on duty at the War Department, and to Ad- 
jutant-General Lorenzo Thomas, to investigate the 
statement made by General Wadsworth. They re- 
ported the same night that it would require 30,000 
men to man and occupy the forts, which, with the 
covering force of 25,000, would make 55,000 neces- 
sary for the proper defense of the city, according 
to the judgment of the council of corps command- 
ers. They confirmed the report of Wadsworth 
that his efficient force consisted of 19,000, from 
which General McClellan had ordered eight regi- 
ments away. They therefore concluded " that the 
requirement of the President, that the city should 
be left entirely secure, had not been fully complied 
with." In accordance with this report the Presi- 
dent directed that General McDowell's corps should 
not be sent to the Peninsula until further orders.^ 

1 General McClellan made in land, under Banks in the Shenan- 

Ms report an elalaorate effort to doah, all those at Warrenton, at 

explain away these facts. He Manassas, and on the lower Po- 

claims to have left a force of tomae. But he does not deny 

73,000 for the defense of Wash- the facts stated by Wadsworth 

ington, including in the number and confirmed by Hitohoock and 

all the troops imder Dix in Mary- Thomas. 



Mr (n^p 

1\ C^-"^ 

J ^ => 



'Holhns Hou^ i, =r 


300 500 

iS CONFEDEfATE TENTS '"'^ ^ '' ^ I" Tm 

LOG HUTS '^ -, 




THE news of tte fall of Fort Henry created a chap. xi. 
sudden consternation among the Confederate 
commanders in Tennessee. It seemed as if the 
keystone had unexpectedly fallen out of their arch 
of well-planned defenses. Generals A. S. Johnston, 
Beauregard, and Hardee immediately met in a coun- 
cil of war at Bowling Green, and after full discus- 
sion united in a memorandum acknowledging the 
disaster and resolving on the measures which in 
their judgment it rendered necessary. They fore- 
saw that Fort Donelson would probably also fall ; 
that Johnston's army must retreat to Nashville 
to avoid capture ; that since Columbus was now 
separated from Bowling Green, the main army at 
Columbus must faU back to Humboldt, or possibly ^^^j^^^" 
to Grand Junction, leaving only a sufficient garri- ^Xmf"" 
son to make a desperate defense of the works and ^^V'e.^*"^' 
the river; and immediate orders were issued to ^p.'sl"" 
prepare for these movements. Nevertheless, John- joimston 
ston, to use his own language, resolved " to fight for committee 
Nashville at Donelson." For this purpose he divided ^^^f^^ 
the army at Bowling Green, starting 8000 of his eentt^tivef., 
men under Generals Buckner and Floyd, together ife,2^%\ 
with 4000 more under Pillow from other points, on p.' 922. ' 



Chap. XI. a rapid march to reenforce the threatened fort, 

" to'°° while Greneral Hardee led his remaining 14,000 

Feb^8,^862. men on their retreat to Nashville. This retreat was 

"^"yiP--' not alone a choice of evils. Even if Fort Henry 

p. oo4. 

had not fallen and Donelson been so seriously 
menaced, the overwhelming force of Buell would 
have compelled a retrograde movement. Had 
Buell been a commander of more enterprise, he 
would have seized this chance of inflicting great 
damage upon the diminished enemy in retreat. 
His advance-guard, indeed, followed ; but John- 
ston's remnant, marching night and day, succeeded 
in reaching the Cumberland Eiver opposite Nash- 
ville, where, after preparations to cross in haste, 
the rebel commander waited with intense eager- 
ness to hear the fate of Donelson. 

Of the two commanders in the "West, the idea of 
the movement up the Tennessee and Cumberland 
rivers was more favorably thought of by Halleck 
than by Buell. Buell pointed out its value, but 
began no movement that looked to its execution. 
Halleck, on the contrary, not only realized its im- 
portance, but immediately entertained the design 
of ultimately carrying it out ; thus he wrote at the 
time he ordered the reconnaissance which demon- 
strated its practicabihty : " The demonstration 
which General Grrant is now making I have no 
Mocfeiian, doubt wiU keep them [the enemy] in check tiU 
i862!°w.'e. preparations can be made for operations on the 
p! 603. " Tennessee or Cumberland." His conception of 
the necessary preparations was, however, almost 
equivalent to the rejection of the plan. He 
thought that it would require a force of 60,000 
men; and to delay it till that number and their 


requisite material of war could be gathered or chap. xi. 
detached Tinder prevailing ideas would amount to 
indefinite postponement. 

When at last, through Grant's importunity, the 
movement was actually begun by the advance to 
capture Fort Henry, a curious interest in the expe- 
dition and its capabilities developed itself among 
the commanders. G-rant's original proposition was 
simply to capture Fort Henry and establish a large 
camp. Nothing further was proposed, and Halleck's 
instructions went only to the same extent, with one 
addition. As the reported approach of Beauregard 
with reenforcements had been the turning influence 
in Halleck's consent, so he proposed that the cap- 
ture of Fort Henry should be immediately followed 
by a dash at the railroad bridges across the Ten- °gJ|**° 
nessee and their destruction, to prevent those reen- isS'^w^'e. 
f orcements from reaching Johnston. But with the p.' 122. '' 
progress of Grant's movement the chances of suc- 
cess brightened, and the plan began correspond- 
ingly to expand. On the 2d of February, when 
Grant's troops were preparing to invest Fort Henry, 
Halleck's estimate of coming possibilities had risen 
a little. He wrote to Buell : "At present it is only 
proposed to take and occupy Fort Henry and ^Bueu,*" 
Dover [Donelson], and, if possible, cut the railroad ^"V'r "^^ 
from Columbus to Bowling Green." Here we have ^p.' 57"" 
Donelson added to Henry in the intention of the 
department commander. That the same intention 
existed in Grant's mind is evident, for, as already re- 
lated, on the fall of Henry on the 6th he immediately 
telegraphed to Halleck, "Fort Henry is ours. . . I 
shall take and destroy Fort Donelson on the 8th, 
and return to Fort Henry." It is to be noted that, 


Chap. XI. in proposing to destroy Fort Donelson, he still 
limits himself to his original proposition of an in- 
trenched camp at Fort Henry. At the critical 
moment Halleck's confidence in success at Fort 
Bueiito Henry wavered, and he called upon Buell with 

Thomas, •' ^ .-,■,, ^ ^ 

iai2\v\ importunity for sufficient help to make sure work 

voi-vn.,' of it. But Buell, commanding 72,502 men,— 

ivfccieiiti, 46,150 of them "fit for the field,"— could only send 

^"V'r "^^ a single brigade to aid in a work which he had 

^p.'ssi"" described as of such momentous consequence. 

Afterwards, indeed, he sent eight regiments more ; 

but these were raw troops from Ohio and Indiana 

which McClellan, with curious misconception of 

their usefulness, had ordered to BueU, who did not 

need them, instead of to Halleck, who was trying 

to make every man do double duty. 

McClellan, satisfied that BueU could not advance 
against Johnston's force at Bowling Green over 
the difficult winter roads, and having not yet 
heard of the surrender of Fort Henry, suggested to 
both Buell and Halleck the temporary suspension 
of operations on other lines in order to make a 
quick combined movement up the Tennessee and 
the Cumberland. This was on February 6. Buell's 
fancy at first caught at the proposal, for he replied 
that evening : " This whole move, right in its 
strategical bearing, but commenced by General 
Halleck without appreciation, preparation, or con- 
cert, has now become of vast magnitude. I was 
myself thinking of a change of the line to support 
it when I received your dispatch. It will have to be 
j?cCTeuan, made in the face of 50,000 if not 60,000 men, and 

^''V'r ^^' is hazardous. I will answer definitely in the morn- 
voi. vir., • „ TT 11 1 -J- ■ 1 ■ . . 

pp. 587, 588. mg." Maileck was more positive m his convictions. 


He telegraphed to McClellan on the same day : " If chap. xi. 
you can give me, in addition to what I have in this 
department, ten thousand men, I will take Fort 
Henry, cut the enemy's line, and paralyze Colum- 
bus. Give me 25,000, and I will threaten Nashville Scfeuan. 

J , jv. ., 1 -J.' J. £ Feb. 6, 1862. 

and cut oil railroad communication, so as to lorce w. r. 
the enemy to abandon Bowling Q-reen without a p.'bst. " 

News of the fall of Fort Henry having been re- 
ceived at Washington, McClellan twenty-four hours 
later telegraphed to Halleck : "Either Buell or 
yourself should soon go to the scene of operations. 
Why not have BueU take the line of [the] Tennes- 
see and operate on Nashville, while your troops 
turn Columbus ? These two points gained, a com- 
bined movement on Memphis will be next in order." 
The dispatch was in substance repeated to Buell, 
who by this time thought he had made up his 
mind, for two hours later he answered : " I cannot, 
on reflection, think a change of my line would be 
advisable. . . I hope General Grant will not re- 
quire further reenforcements. I will go if neces- 
sary." Thus on the night of the 7th, with the sole 
aid from himself of the single drilled brigade from 
Green River and the eight raw regiments from 
Ohio and Indiana, he proposed to leave the im- 
portant central line on which Grant had started to 
its chances. 

A night's reflection made him doubt the correct- 
ness of his decision, for he telegraphed on the 
morning of the 8th: "I am concentrating and 
preparing, but will not decide definitely yet." Hal- 
leck's views were less changeable : at noon on the 
8th, he again urged that Buell should transfer the 



Chap. XI. 

Halleck to 


Feb. 11, 

1862. W. E. 

Vol. vn., 

p. 605. 

BueU to 

Feb. 12, 

1862. W. E. 

Vol. VII., 

p. 607. 



Feb. 16, 
1862. W. E. 

Vol. vn., 

p. 620. 

bulk of his forces to the Cumberland River, to 
move by water on Nashville. To secure this coop- 
eration, he further proposed a modification of 
department lines to give Buell command on the 
Cumberland and Hitchcock or Sherman on the 
Tennessee, with superior command for himself over 
both. No immediate response came from Wash- 
ington, and three days elapsed when Halleck asked 
Buell specifically : " Can't you come with all your 
available forces and command the column up the 
Cumberland? I shall go to the Tennessee this 
week." Buell's desire, vibrating like a pendulum 
between the two brilliant opportunities before him, 
now swung towards Halleck's proposal, but with 
indefiniteness and fatal slowness. He answered that 
he would go either to the Cumberland or to the 
Tennessee, but that it would require ten days to 
transfer bis troops. 

During his hesitation, events forced him to a 
new conclusion. News came that the rebels had 
evacuated Bowling Q-reen, and he telegraphed: 
" The evacuation of Bowling Grreen, leaving the 
way open to Nashville, makes it proper to resume 
my original plan. I shall advance on Nashville 
with all the speed I can." From this last deter- 
mination Halleck appealed beseechingly to the 
General-in-Chief. He announced that Grant had 
formally invested Fort Donelson and that the bom- 
bardment was progressing favorably, but he further 
explained that since the evacuation of Bowling 
Green the enemy were concentrating against 
Grant. He claimed that it was bad strategy for 
Buell to advance on Nashville over broken bridges 
and bad roads, and this point he reiterated with 


emphasis. He telegraphed on February 16 : "I am chap. xi. 
still decidedly of the opinion that Buell should not 
advance on Nashville, but come to the Cumberland 
with his available forces. United to Grant we can 
take and hold Fort Donelson and Clarksville, and 
by another central movement cut off both Colum- 
bus and NashviUe. . . Unless we can take Fort 
Donelson very soon we shall have the whole force MccfelLif, 
of the enemy on us. Fort Donelson is the turning- isS^^w.^r. 
point of the war, and we must take it at whatever pp. 624, 625. 

But his appeal was unavailing. McClellan took 
sides with Buell, insisting that to occupy Nashville 
would be most decisive. Buell had, indeed, ordered 
Nelson's division to go to the help of Grant ; but 
in the conflict of his own doubts and intentions 
the orders had been so tardy that Nelson's em- 
barkation was only beginning on the day when 
Donelson surrendered. McClellan's further con- 
ditional order to Buell, to help Grant if it were 
necessary, offered a yet more distant prospect of 
succor. If the siege of Donelson had been pro- 
longed, assistance from these directions would, of 
course, have been found useful. In the actual state 
of facts, however, they show both Buell and Mc- 
Clellan incapable, even under continued pressure, 
of seizing and utilizing the fleeting chances of war 
which so often turn the scale of success, and which 
so distinctly caU out the higher qualities of military 

Amidst the sluggish counsels of commanders of 
departments, the energy of Grant and the courage 
and intrepidity of his raw "Western soldiers had al- 
ready decided one of the great crises of the war. 


Chap. xi. Grant had announced to Halleck that he would 
storm Fort Donelson on the 8th of February, but 
he failed to count one of the chances of delay. " I 
contemplated taking Fort Donelson to-day with 
to cSfum, infantry and cavalry alone," reported he, " but all 
fsea^wfE: my troops may be kept busily engaged in saving 
p! 696. " -^yiiat we now have from the rapidly rising waters." 
This detention served to change the whole character 
of the undertaking. If he could have marched and 
attacked on the 8th, he would have found but 6000 
men in the fort, which his own troops largely out- 
numbered ; as it turned out, the half of Johnston's 
army sent from Bowling Green and other points, 
conducted by Generals Pillow, Floyd, and Buck- 
ner, arrived before the fort was invested, increasing 
the garrison to an aggregate of 17,000 and greatly 
extending the lines of rifle-pits and other defenses.^ 
This presented an altogether different and more 
serious problem. The enemy before Grant was 
now, if not superior, at least equal in numbers, and 
had besides the protection of a large and well-con- 
structed earthwork, armed with seventeen heavy 
and forty-eight field guns. It is probable that this 
changed aspect of affau's was not immediately 
known to him ; if it was, he depended on the re- 
enforcements which Halleck had promised, and 
which soon began to arrive. Early on the morn- 
ing of the 12th he started on his march, with the 
divisions of MeClernand and of Brigadier-General 
C. F. Smith, numbering fifteen thousand. At noon 

1 General Grant's estimate of the attack, and their arrival had, 

the Confederate foroesis 21,000. at the time of the surrender, in- 

He says he marched against the ereasedhisarmytoabout 27,000. 

fort with hut 15, 000, but that he — Grant, "Personal Memoirs," 

received reenforcements before Vol. I., pp. 299, 305, 315. 

General c. r. smith. 


they were within two miles of Donelson. That chap. xi. 
afternoon and all the following day, February 13, 1862. 
were occupied in driving in the rebel pickets, find- 
ing the approaches, and drawing the lines of invest- 
ment around the fort. A gallant storming assault 
by four Illinois regiments upon one of the rebel 
batteries was an exciting incident of the after- 
noon's advance, but was unsuccessful. 

To understand the full merit of the final achieve- 
ment, the conditions under which the siege of 
Donelson was thus begun must be briefly men- 
tioned. The principal fort, or earthwork which 
bore the military name, lay on the west bank of 
the Cumberland River, haK a mile north of the 
little town of Dover. The fort occupied the ter- 
minal knoll of a high ridge ending in the angle 
between the river and the mouth of Hickman 
Creek. This main work consisted of two batteries 
of heavy guns, primarily designed to control the 
river navigation. But when Greneral Johnston re- 
solved to defend Nashville at Donelson and gath- 
ered an army of 17,000 men for the purpose, the 
original fort and the town of Dover and aU the 
intervening space were inclosed by a long, irregu- 
lar line of rifle-pits connecting more substantial 
breastworks and embankments on the favorable 
elevations, in which field batteries were planted ; 
the whole chain of intrenchments, extending from 
Hickman Creek on the north till it inclosed the 
town of Dover on the south, having a total length 
of about two and a half miles. Outside the rifle- 
pits were the usual obstructions of felled trees and 
abatis, forming an interlacing barrier difficult to 
Vol. v.— 13 



Chap. XI. 


The Union troops liad had no fighting at Fort 
Henry; at that place the gunboats had done the 
work. The debarkation on the Tennessee, the re- 
connaissance, the march towards Donelson, the 
picket skirmishing during the 12th and 13th, had 
only been such as to give them zest and exhilara- 
tion. When, on the morning of the 12th, the march 
began, the weather was mild and agreeable; but 
on the afternoon of the 13th, while the army 
was stretching itself cautiously around the rebel 
intrenchments, the thermometer suddenly went 
down, a winter storm set in with rain, snow, sleet, 
ice, and a piercing northwest wind, that made the 
men lament the imprudence they had committed 
in leaving overcoats and blankets behind. Grant's 
army was composed entu'ely of "Western regi- 
ments; fifteen from the single State of Illinois, 
and a fm'ther aggregate of seventeen from the 
States of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and 
Iowa. Some of these regiments had seen guerrilla 
fighting in Missouri, some had been through the 
battle of Belmont, but many were new to the priva- 
tions and dangers of an active campaign. Nearly 
all the officers came from civil life; but a com- 
mon thought, energy, and wiU animated the whole 
mass. It was neither discipline nor mere military 
ambition; it was patriot work in its noblest and 
purest form. They had left their homes and varied 
peaceful occupations to defend the Government 
and put down the rebellion. They were in the 
flush and exaltation of a common heroic im- 
pulse: in such a mood, the rawest recruit was as 
brave as the oldest veteran; and in this spirit 
they endured hunger and cold, faced snow and ice. 


held tenaciously the lines of the siege, climbed chap. xi. 
without flinching through the tangled abatis, and 
advanced into the deadly fire from the rifle-pits 
with a purpose and a devotion never excelled by 
soldiers of any nation or epoch. 

Flag-officer Foote, with six gunboats, arrived on 
the evening of the 13th; also six regiments sent 
by water. Fort Henry had been reduced by the 
gunboats alone, and it was resolved first to try 
the effect of these new and powerful fighting 
machines upon the works of Donelson. Accord- 
ingly on Friday, February 14, the assault was 1862. 
begun by an attack from, the six gunboats. As 
before, the situation of the fort enabled the four 
ironclads to advance up-stream towards the bat- 
teries, the engines holding them steadily against 
the swift current, presenting their heavily plated 
bows as a target for the enemy. The attack had 
lasted an hour and a half. The ironclads were 
within four hundred yards of the rebel embank- 
ments, the heavy armor was successfully resisting 
the shot and shell from the fort, the fire of the 
enemy was slackening, indicating that the water- 
batteries were becoming untenable, when two of 
the gunboats were suddenly disabled and drifted 
out of the fight, one having her wheel carried 
away, and the other her tiller-ropes damaged. 
These accidents, due to the weakness and exposure 
of the pilot-houses, compelled a cessation of the 
river attack and a withdrawal of the gunboats for 
repairs, and gave the beleaguered garrison corre- 
sponding exultation and confidence. Flag-officer 
Foote had been wounded in the attack, and deem- 
ing it necessary to take his disabled vessels tern- 


Chap. XI. porarily back to Cairo, he requested G-rant to visit 
Mm for consultation. Grant therefore went on 
board one of the gunboats before dawn on the 

Feb., 1862. morning of the 15th, and it was arranged between 
the commanders that he should perfect his lines 
and hold the fort in siege until Foote could return 
from Cairo to assist in renewing the attack. 

Dm'ing all this time there had been a fluctuation 
of fear and hope in the garrison — from the repulse 
of McClernand's assault on the 13th, the prompt 
investment of the fort, the gunboat attack and 
its repulse. There was want of harmony between 
Floyd, Pillow, and Buckner, the three commanders 
within the fort. Prior to the gunboat attack a 
bold sortie was resolved upon, which project was, 
however, abandoned through the orders or non- 
compliance of Pillow. That night the second 
council of war determined to make a serious effort 
to extricate the garrison. At six o'clock on the 
morning of the 15th the divisions of Pillow and 
Buckner moved out to attack McClernand's di- 
vision, and if possible open an avenue of retreat by 
the road running southward from Dover to Char- 
lotte. The Confederates made their attack not only 
with spirit but with superior numbers. Driving 
back McClernand's right, they were by eleven 
o'clock in the forenoon in complete possession of 
the Charlotte road. Buckner, who simultaneously 
attacked McClernand's left, did not fare so well. 
He was repulsed, and compelled to retire to the in- 
trenchments from which he had issued. At this 
critical point Grant returned from his visit to 
Foote. What he found and what he did is stated 
with brevity in the message he hastily sent back : 



If all the gunboats that can will immediately chap. xr. 
make their appearance to the enemy it may secure 
us a victory. Otherwise all may be defeated. A 
terrible conflict ensued in my absence, which has 
demoralized a portion of my command, and I think 
the enemy is much more so. If the gunboats do 
not show themselves, it will reassure the enemy 
and still fui'ther demoralize oisr troops. I must 
order a charge, to save appearances. I do not ex- ^^^^l^ 
pect the gunboats to go into action, but to make i^^^'^\ 
appearance and throw a few shells at long range." ^p.' eT"" 

In execution of the design here announced. 
Grant sent an order to General C. F. Smith, com- 
manding the second division, who held the extreme 
left of the investing line, to storm the intrench- 
ments in front of him. His men had as yet had no 
severe fighting, and now went forward enthusias- 
tically, carrying an important outwork with im- 
petuous gallantry. Learning of his success. Grant 
in turn ordered forward the entire remainder of his 
force under Brigadier-General Lew. "Wallace and 
General McClernand. This order was executed 
during the afternoon, and by nightfall the whole of 
the ground lost by the enemy's morning attack was 
fuUy regained. There is a conflict of testimony 
about the object of the attack of the enemy. Buck- 
ner says it was to effect the immediate escape of the 
garrison ; Pillow says he had no such understand- 
ing, and that neither he nor any one else made prep- 
aration for departure. The opportunity, therefore, 
which his division had during the forenoon to retire 
by the open road to Charlotte was not improved. 
By evening the chance was gone, for the Federals 
had once more closed that avenue of escape. 


CHAP. XI. During the niglit of the 15th, the Confederate 
Feb., 1862. conamanders met in council to decide what they 
should do. Buckner, the junior, very emphatically 
gave the others to understand that the situation of 
the garrison was desperate, and that it would re- 
quire but an hour or two of assault on the next 
morning to capture his portion of the defenses. 
Such a contingency left them no practical alter- 
native. Floyd and PiUow had exaggerated ideas 
of the personal danger they would be in from the 
Government if they permitted themselves to be- 
come prisoners, and made known their great so- 
licitude to get away. An agreement was therefore 
reached, through which Floyd, the senior general, 
first turned over his command to Pillow ; then PU- 
low, the second in command, in the same way re- 
linquished his authority to Buckner, the junior 
general. This formality completed. Pillow hastily 
crossed the river and went to Clarksville with his 
staff, while Floyd, taking advantage of the arrival 
of a rebel steamer, boarded it, with his personal 
followers, during the night, and abandoned the 
fort and its garrison. 

As usual, the active correspondents of Western 
newspapers were with the expedition, and through 
their telegrams something of the varying fortunes 
of the Kentucky campaign and the Donelson siege 
had become known to the country, while President 
Lincoln at Washington gleaned still further details 
from the scattering official reports which came to 
the War Department through army channels. The 
new events again aroused his most intense solic- 
itude, and prompted him to send the following sug- 
gestion by telegraph to Halleek : 



You have Port Donelson safe, imless Grant shall be 
overwhelmed from outside ; to prevent which latter will, 
I think, require aU the vigilanee, energy, and skill of 
yourself and BueU, acting in full cooperation. Columbus 
will not get at G-rant, but the force from Bowling Green 
will. They hold the railroad from Bowling Green to 
within a few miles of Fort Donelson, with the bridge at 
ClarksviHe undisturbed. It is unsafe to rely that they 
will not dare to expose Nashville to BueU. A small part 
of their force can retire slowly towards Nashville, break- 
ing up the railroad as they go, and keep Buell out of that 
city twenty days. Meantime NashviUe wiH be abun- 
dantly defended by forces from all South and perhaps 
from here at Manassas. Could not a cavalry force from 
General Thomas on the Upper Cumberland dash across, 
almost unresisted, and cut the railroad at or near Knox- 
ville, Tennessee 1 In the midst of a bombardment at Fort 
Donelson, why could not a gunboat run up and destroy 
the bridge at ClarksviHe ? Our success or failure at Fort 
Donelson is vastly important, and I beg you to put your 
soul in the effort. I send a copy of this to BueU. 

Before this telegram reacted its destination, the 
siege of Donelson was terminated. On Sunday 
morning, the 16th of February, when the troops 
composing the Federal line of investment were 
preparing for a final assault, a note came from 
Buckner to Glrant, proposing an armistice to ar- 
range terms of capitulation. The language of 
Grant's reply served to crown the fame of his 
achievement : " Yours of this date, proposing ar- 
mistice and appointment of commissioners to settle 
terms of capitulation, is just received. No terms 
except unconditional and immediate surrender can 
be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon 
your works." His resolute phrase gained him a 
prouder title than was ever bestowed by knightly 
accolade. Thereafter, the army and the country. 

Chap. XI. 

Lincoln to 


Feb. 16, 

1862. W. R. 

Vol. VII., 

p. 624. 


Chap. XI. with, a fanciful play upon the initials of his name, 
spoke of him as " Unconditional Surrender Grrant." 
Buckner had no other balm for the sting of his de- 
feat than to say that Grant's terms were " ungener- 
ous and unchivalric," but that necessity compelled 
him to accept them. That day Grrant was enabled 
to telegraph to Halleck : " We have taken Fort 
Donelson and from 12,000 to 15,000 prisoners, in- 
cluding Q-enerals Buckner and Bushrod R. John- 
son ; also about 20,000 stands of arms, forty-eight 

toameck, pieces of artillery, seventeen heavy guns, from 

18^"'' w^'e 2000 to 4000 horses, and large quantities of com- 
voi.vir., • , „ 

p. 626. missary stores." 

By this brilliant and important victory Grrant's 
fame sprang suddenly into full and universal recog- 
nition. President Lincoln nominated him major- 
general of volunteers, and the Senate at once 
confirmed the appointment. The whole military 
service felt the inspiriting event. Many of the 
colonels in Grant's army were made brigadier-gen- 
erals ; and promotion ran, like a quickening leaven, 
through the whole organization. Halleck also re- 
minded the Government of his desire for larger 
power. "Make Buell, Grant, and Pope major- 
generals of volunteers," he telegraphed the day 
Mccfeuan, after the surrender, " and give me command in the 
ISM®" w.'r. West. I ask this in return for Forts Henry and 

Vol. VII., T-v 1 1, 

p. 628. Donelson." 



THE annual message of President Lincoln at chap. xii. 
the opening of Congress in December, 1861, 
treated many subjects of importance — foreign rela- 
tions, the condition of the finances, a reorganization 
of the Supreme Court, questions of military admin- 
istration, the building of a military railroad through 
Kentucky to East Tennessee, the newly organized 
Territories, a review of military progress towards 
the suppression of rebellion. It contained also a 
vigorous practical discussion of the relations be- 
tween capital and labor, which pointed out with 
singular force that " the insurrection is largely, if not 
exclusively, a war upon the first principle of popular 
government — the rights of the people." In addition 
to these topics, it treated another question of greater 
importance than all of them, but in so moderate a 
tone, and with such tentative suggestions, that it 
excited less immediate comment than any other. 
This was the question of slavery. 

It had not escaped Mr. Lincoln's notice that the 
relations of slavery to the war were producing 
rapidly increasing complications and molding pub- 
lic thought to new and radical changes of opinion. 
His revocation of Fremont's proclamation had 




CHAP. XII. momentarily checked the clamor of importunate 
agitators for military emancipation; but he saw 
clearly enough that a deep, though as yet undefined, 
public hope clung to the vague suggestion that 
slavery and rebellion might perish together. As a 
significant symptom of this undercurrent of feeling, 
there came to him in November a letter from 
G-eorge Bancroft, the veteran Democratic politician 
and national historian ; a man eminent not only for 
his writings upon the science of government, but 
who as a member of President Polk's Cabinet had 
rendered signal and lasting service in national 
administration. Mr. Bancroft had lately presided 
at a meeting in New York called to collect contri- 
butions to aid the suffering loyalists of North 
Carolina. As it happened on all such occasions, 
the patriotism of the hour sprang forward to bold 
speech and radical argument. Even the moderate 
words of Mr. Bancroft on taking the chair reflected 
this reformatory spirit : " If slavery and the Union 
are incompatible, listen to the words that come to 
you from the tomb of Andrew Jackson: 'The 
Union must be preserved at all hazards.' . . If any 
one claims the compromises of the Constitution, let 
him begin by placing the Constitution in power by 
respecting it and upholding it." In the letter 
transmitting these remarks and the resolutions of 
the meeting to Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Bancroft made a 
yet more emphatic suggestion. He wrote: "Tour 
Administration has fallen upon times which will be 
remembered as long as human events find a record. 
I sincerely wish to you the glory of perfect success. 
Civil war is the instrument of Divine Providence to 
root out social slavery ; posterity will not be satis- 


New- York 


Nov. 8, 1861. 


fied witli tlie result, unless the consequences of the chap. xii. 
war shall effect an increase of free States. This is Bancroft 

to Lincoln, 

the universal expectation and hope of men of all if^Tilk 

Such a letter, from a man having the learning, 
talent, and political standing of its author, is of itself 
historic ; but Mr. Lincoln's reply gives it a special 
significance. November 18, 1861, he wrote: "I 
esteem it a high honor to have received a note from 
Mr. Bancroft, inclosing the report of proceedings of 
a New York meeting taking measures for the relief 
of Union people of North Carolina. I thank you 
and aU others participating for this benevolent and 
patriotic movement. The main thought in the 
closing paragraph of your letter is one which does 
not escape my attention, and with which I must 
deal in all due caution, and with the best judgment Bancroft? 
I can bring to it." This language gives us the isei. 'ms. 
exact condition of Mr. Lincoln's mind on the sub- 
ject of slavery at that time. He hoped and ex- 
pected to effect an "increase of free States" 
through emancipation; but we shall see that this 
emancipation was to come through the voluntary 
action of the States, and that he desired by such 
policy to render unnecessary the compulsory mili- 
tary enfranchisement which Fremont had attempted 
and which his followers advocated. 

The caution and good judgment which President 
LincoLn applied to the solution of this dangerous 
problem become manifest when we reexamine its 
treatment in his annual message mentioned above. 
Not referring directly to any general plan or hope 
of emancipation, he nevertheless approached the 
subject by discussing its immediate and practical 



Chap. xn. necessities in phraseology which gave him room 
for expansion into a more decisive policy. It is 
worth while, not merely to quote the whole passage, 
but to emphasize the sentences which were plainly 
designed to lead Congress and the country to the 
contemplation of new and possible contingencies. 

Under and by virtue of the act of Congress entitled "An 
Act to Confiscate Property used for Insurrectionary Pur- 
poses," approved August 6, 1861, the legal claims of certain 
persons to the labor and service of certain other persons 
have become forfeited; and numbers of the latter, thus 
liberated, are already dependent on the United States, and 
must be provided for in some way. Besides this, it is not 
impossible that some of the States will pass similar enact- 
ments for their own benefit respectively, and by opera- 
tion of which persons of the same class will be thrown 
upon them for disposal. In such case I recommend that 
Congress provide for accepting such persons from such 
States, according to some mode of valuation, in lieu, pro 
tanto, of direct taxes, or upon some other plan to be agreed 
on with such States respectively ; that such persons, on 
such acceptance by the G-eneral Grovernment, be at once 
deemed free ; and that, in any event, steps be taken for 
colonizing both classes (or the one first mentioned, if the 
other shall not be brought into existence) at some place 
or places in a climate congenial to them. It might be 
weU to consider, too, whether the free colored people 
already in the United States could not, so far as indi- 
viduals may desire, be included in such colonization. . . 
The war continues. In considering the poMcy to be 
adopted for suppressing the insurrection, I have been 
anxious and careful that the inevitable conflict for this 
purpose shall not degenerate into a violent and remorse- 
less revolutionary struggle. I have, therefore, in every 
case, thought it proper to keep the integrity of the Union 
prominent as the primary object of the contest on our 
part, leaving aU questions which are not of vital military 
importance to the more deliberate action of the Legisla- 


In tlie exercise of my best discretion I have adhered to chap. xii. 
the blockade of the ports held by the insurgents, instead 
of putting in force, by proclamation, the law of Congress 
enacted at the late session for closing those ports. So, 
also, obeying the dictates of prudence, as well as the 
obligations of law, instead of transcending, I have 
adhered to the act of Congress to confiscate property 
used for insurrectionary purposes. If a new law upon 
the same subject shall be proposed, its propriety will be 
duly considered. The Union must be preserved; and 
hence, all indispensable means must he employed. We ^ ^^^.^ 
should not be in haste to determine that radical and "Globe,"' 
extreme measures, which may reach the loyal as well as p. 3. ' 
the disloyal, are indispensable. 

Apparently these propositions covered the simple 
recommendation of colonization, an old and familiar 
topic wMeli had friends in both free and slave 
States ; but the language, when closely scanned, is 
full of novel suggestions : that the war has already 
freed many slaves; that the war may free many 
more ; that the President will impartially consider 
any new law of Congress increasing emancipation 
for rebellion ; that he will not hastily adopt extreme 
measures ; but that, finally, to preserve the Union, 
all indispensahle means must be employed. These 
declarations, in fact, cover the whole of his sub- 
sequent treatment of the slavery question. 

Congress was too busy with pressing practical 
legislation to find time for immediately elaborating 
by debate or enactment any of the recommenda- 
tions thus made. It is not likely that the President 
expected early action from the national Legislature, 
for he at once turned his own attention to certain 
initiatory efforts which he had probably carefully 
meditated. He believed that under the pressure of 
war necessities the border slave States might be 


Chap. XII. induced to take up the idea of voluntary emancipa- 
tion if the Greneral Government would pay their 
citizens the full property value of the slaves they 
were asked to liberate ; and this experiment seemed 
to him most feasible in the small State of Delaware, 
which retained only the merest fragment of a 
property interest in the peculiar institution. 

Owing to the division of its voters between 
Breckinridge, Bell, Lincoln, and Douglas, the 
electoral vote of Delaware had been cast for 
Breckinridge in the Presidential election of 1860 ; 
but more adroit party management had succeeded 
in effecting a fusion of the Bell and Lincoln vote 
for Member of Congress, and George P. Fisher had 
been elected by a small majority. It is of little 
importance to know the exact shade of Mr. Fisher's 
politics during the campaign; when the rebellion 
broke out he was an ardent Unionist, a steadfast 
friend of Mr. Lincoln, and perhaps more liberal on 
the subject of slavery than any other border State 
Eepresentative. He entered readily into Mr. 
Lincoln's views and plans, which were to induce 
the Legislature of Delaware to pass an act of 
gradual emancipation of the 1798 slaves which it 
contained by the census of 1860, on condition that 
the United States would pay to Delaware, to be 
distributed among its slave-owners in proper ratio, 
the sum of $400 for each slave, or a total of 
1861. Mr. Lincoln during the month of November had 

with his own hand written drafts of two sepa- 
rate bills embracing the principal details of the 
scheme. By the first, all negroes in Delaware, 
above the age of thirty-five years, should become 


free on tlie passage of the act; all born after its chap. xii. 
passage should remain free; and all others, after 
suitable apprenticeship for children, should be- 
come free in the year 1893; also, that the State 
should meanwhile prevent any of its slaves being 
sold into servitude elsewhere. The provisions of ms. 
the second draft were slightly different. Lincoln's 
manuscript explains: "On reflection I like No. 2 
the better. By it the nation would pay the State 
$23,200 per annum for thirty-one years. All born 
after the passage of the act would be born free. AU 
slaves above the age of thirty-five years would be- 
come free on the passage of the act. All others 
would become free on arriving at the age of thirty- 
five years until January, 1893, when all remaining of 
all ages would become free, subject to apprentice- 
ship for minors born of slave mothers, up to the 
respective ages of twenty-one and eighteen." Upon ms. 
consultation with the President, Mr. Fisher under- 
took to propose and commend the scheme to his 
influential pai-ty friends in Delaware, and if pos- 
sible to induce the Legislature of that State to 
adopt it. 

One of the drafts prepared by Mr. Lincoln was 
rewritten by the friends of the measure in Dela- 
ware, embodying the necessary details to give it 
proper force and local application to become a law 
of that State. In this shape it was printed and cir- 
culated among the members of the Legislature, then 
holding a special session at Dover. The Legislature 
of Delaware was not a large body ; nine members of 
the Senate and twenty-one members of the House 
constituted the whole number. "We have no record 
of the discussions, formal or informal, which the 


Chap. xii. proposition called forth. The final action, how- 
ever, indicates the sentiment which prevailed. 
The friends of emancipation probably ascertained 
that a hostile majority would vote it down, there- 
fore the laboriously prepared bill was never intro- 
duced. The pro-slavery members, unwilling to 
lose the opportunity of airing their conservatism, 
immediately prepared a joint resolution reciting 
the bill at full length and then loading it with 
the strongest phrases of condemnation which their 
party zeal could invent. They said it would en- 
courage the abolition element in Congress; that 
it evinced a design to abolish slavery in the States ; 
that Congress had no right to appropriate a dollar 
for the purchase of slaves ; that they were unwill- 
ing to make Delaware guarantee the public faith 
of the United States ; that when the people of Dela- 
ware desired to abolish slavery within her borders 
they would do so in their way ; and intimated that 
the " suggestions of saving expense to the people " 
were a bribe, which they scornfully repelled. A 
majority of the twenty-one members of the House 
passed this joint resolution ; but when it came to 
1862. the Senate, on the 7th of February, four of its nine 
"seZtT iiiembers voted "aye," four voted "no," and one 
"sp"™!!' ■^a.s silent or absent; and so the joint resolution 
1861T' went back "non-concurred in." This seems to have 
closed the legislative record on the subject. 

Mr. Lincoln was doubtless disappointed at the 
failure to give his plan of compensated gradual 
abolishment a starting-point by the favorable ac- 
tion of the State of Delaware. But he did not 
abandon the project, and his next step was to 
bring it, through Congress, to the attention of the 







In his seat in the Senate. 


coTintry and the States interested. On the 6th chap. xii. 
of March he sent to the Senate and the House of 1862. 
Representatives a special message, recommending 
the adoption of the following joint resolution: 
'■^Resolved, That the United States ought to cooper- 
ate with any State which may adopt gradual abol- 
ishment of slavery, giving to such State pecuniary 
aid, to be used by such State in its discretion, to 

' ■' ' "Globe," 

compensate for the inconveniences, public and '^f^^^- 
private, produced by such change of system." His p- ^^''^■ 
message explained that this was merely the pro- 
posal of practical measures which he hoped would 
foUow. He said : 

The point is not that all the States tolerating slavery 
would very soon, if at all, initiate emancipation ; but that 
while the offer is equally made to all, the more Northerrf^' 
shall, hy such initiation, make it certain to the more South- 
ern that in no event will the former ever join the latter in 
their proposed Confederacy. I say " initiation " because, 
in my judgment, gradual, and not sudden, emancipation 
is better for aU. . . Such a proposition on the part of the 
General Government sets up no claim of a right by 
Federal authority to interfere with slavery within State 
limits, referring, as it does, the absolute control of the 
subject in each case to the State and its people imme- 
diately interested. It is proposed as a matter of per- 
fectly free choice with them. In the annual message last 
December, I thought fit to say, "The Union must be 
preserved; and hence, all indispensable means must be 
employed." I said this, not hastily, but deliberately. 
War has been made, and continues to be, an indispen- 
sable means to this end. A practical reacknowledgment 
of the national authority would render the war unneces- 
sary, and it would at once cease. If, however, resistance 
continues, the war must also continue ; and it is impos- '^^r^i' 
sible to foresee all the incidents which may attend and 1862, 
all the ruin which may follow it. Such as may seem lios. 
Vol. v.— 14 


Chap. xii. indispensable, or may obviously promise great efficiency 
towards ending the struggle, must and wiU come. 

To this public recommendation lie added some 
cogent reasons in private letters to influential per- 
sons. Thus, three days after his message, he wrote 
to the editor of " The New- York Times " : 

lam gratefid to the New York journals, and not less so 
to the " Times " than to others, for their kind notices of the 
late special message to Congress. Your paper, however, 
intimates that the proposition, though well intentioned, 
must fail on the score of expense. I do hope you will re- 
consider this. Have you noticed the facts that less than 
one-half day's cost of this war would pay for all the slaves 
in Delaware, at $400 per head? — that eighty-seven days' 
cost of this war would pay for all in Delaware, Maryland, 
District of Columbia, Kentucky, and Missouri at the same 
price 1 Were those States to take the step, do you doubt 
that it would shorten the war more than eighty-seven days, 
Lincoln to and thus be an actual saving of expense ? Please look at 
^areh'f^' these things, and consider whether there should not be 
1862. MS. another article in the " Times." 

So again, to Senator McDougall, who was oppos- 
ing the scheme with considerable earnestness in the 
Senate, he vrrote privately on March 14 : 

As to the expensiveness of the plan of gradual emanci- 
pation, with compensation, proposed in the late message, 
please allow me one or two brief suggestions. Less than 
one half-day's cost of this war would pay for all the slaves 
in Delaware, at $400 per head. Thus : 

All the slaves in Delaware by the census of 1860 are. . .1798 


Cost of slaves $719,200 

One day's cost of the war $2,000,000 

Again, less than eighty-seven days' cost of this war 
would, at the same price, pay for all in Delaware, Mary- 
land, District of Columbia, Kentucky, and Missouri. 


Slaves in Delaware 1,798 chap xii 

" "Maryland 87,188 

" " District of Columbia 3,181 

" " Kentucky 225,490 

" " Missouri 114,965 



Cost of slaves $173,048,800 

Eighty-seven days' cost of the war 174,000,000 

Do you doubt that taking the initiatory steps on the 
part of those States and this District would shorten the war 
more than eighty-seven days, and thus be an actual saving 
of expense ? A word as to the time and manner of incur- 
ring the expense. Suppose, for instance, a State devises 
and adopts a system by which the institution absolutely 
ceases therein by a named day — say January 1, 1882. 
Then let the sum to be paid to such State by the United 
States be ascertained by taking from the census of 1860 
the number of slaves within the State, and multiplying 
that number by 400 — the United States to pay such sum 
to the State in twenty equal annual instalments, in six 
per cent, bonds of the United States. The sum thus given, 
as to time and manner, I think, would not be half as 
onerous as would be an equal sum raised now for the in- MoDougaii, 
definite prosecution of the war ; but of this you can judge S^Vs! 
as well as I. 

It was between the dates of these letters that 
President Lincoln made the most important per- 
sonal effort to secure favorable action on his project 
of gradual abolishment. At his request such Mem- 
bers of Congress from the border slave States of 
Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and 
Missouri as were present in Washington came in a 
body to the Executive Mansion on March 10, where 1862. 
a somewhat prolonged discussion of this subject 
ensued, the substance of which was authentically 
reported by them. In reading the account of the 
interview, it must be remembered that Lincoln was 


Chap. xii. addressing the representatives of such, slave States 
as had remained loyal, and his phrases respecting 
his attitude and intention towards slavery were not 
intended by him to apply to the States whose per- 
sistent rebellion had forfeited the consideration and 
rights which the others could justly claim. Mr. 
Crisfield thus relates the substance of the Presi- 
dent's address: 

After the usual salutations and we were seated, the 
President said, in substance, that he had invited us to 
meet him to have some conversation with us in explana- 
tion of his message of the 6th ; that since he had sent 
it in, several of the gentlemen then present had visited 
him, but had avoided any allusion to the message, and 
he therefore inferred that the import of the message 
had been misunderstood, and was regarded as inimical 
to the interests we represented ; and he had resolved he 
would talk with us, and disabuse our minds of that 
erroneous opinion. The President then disclaimed any 
intent to injure the interests or wound the sensibilities 
of the slave States. On the contrary, his purpose was to 
protect the one and respect the other. That we were 
engaged in a terrible, wasting, and tedious war ; immense 
armies were in the field, and must continue in the field as 
long as the war lasts ; that these armies must, of neces- 
sity, be brought into contact with slaves in the States we 
represented, and in other States as they advanced ; that 
slaves would come to the camps, and continual irritation 
was kept up. That he was constantly annoyed by con- 
flicting and antagonistic complaints : on the one side, a 
certain class complained if the slave was not protected 
by the army — persons were frequently found who, par- 
ticipating in these views, acted in a way unfriendly to 
the slaveholder ; on the other hand, slaveholders com- 
plained that their rights were interfered with, their slaves 
induced to abscond and protected within the Unes. These 
complaints were numerous, loud, and deep; were a serious 
annoyance to him, and embarrassing to the progress of 
the war ; that it kept alive a spirit hostile to the Govern- 


ment in the States we represented ; strengthened the chap. xii. 
hopes of the Confederates that at some day the border 
States would unite with them and thus tend to prolong 
the war ; and he was of the opinion, if this resolution 
should be adopted by Congress and accepted by our 
States, these causes of irritation and these hopes would 
be removed, and more would be accomplished towards 
shortening the war than could be hoped from the greatest 
victory achieved by Union armies. That he made this 
proposition in good faith, and desired it to be accepted, 
i£ at all, voluntarily, and in the same patriotic spirit in 
which it was made ; that emancipation was a subject ex- 
clusively under the control of the States, and must be 
adopted or rejected by each for itself; that he did not 
claim, nor had this Government any right to coerce them 
for that purpose ; that such was no part of his purpose 
in making this proposition, and he wished it to be clearly 
understood. That he did not expect us there to be pre- 
pared to give him an answer, but he hoped we would take 
the subject into serious consideration, confer with one ^pHistory' 
another, and then take such course as we felt our duty of the 
and the interests of our constituents required of us. p. 210 et seg. 

It is not to be wondered at thsat his auditors were 
unable to give him affirmative replies, or even 
remote encouragement. Representing slavehold- 
ing constituencies, their natural attitude was one 
of unyielding conservatism. Their whole tone was 
one of doubt, of qualified protest, and of apprehen- 
sive inquiry. They had not failed to note that in 
his annual message of December 3, and his special isei. 
message of March 6, he had announced his detertni- 1862 
nation to use all " indispensable means " to preserve 
the Union, and had hinted that necessity might 
force him to employ extreme measures ; and one of 
them asked pointedly "if the President looked to 
any policy beyond the acceptance or rejection of 
this scheme." His answer was frank and direct. 



Chap. XII. 


of tlie 


p. 211. 

Mr. Crisfield of Maryland writes : " The President 
replied that lie had no designs beyond the action of 
the States on this particular subject. He should 
lament their refusal to accept it, but he had no 
designs beyond their refusal of it. . . Unless he 
was expelled by the act of God or the Confederate 
armies, he should occupy that house for three years, 
and as long as he remained there Maryland had 
nothing to fear, either for her institutions or her 
interests, on the points referred to." 

The day on which this interview was held, Ros- 
coe Conkling introduced into the House of Eepre- 
sentatives the exact joint resolution which the 
President had recommended in his message of the 
6th, aTid debate on the subject was begun. The dis- 
cussion showed a wide divergence of views among 
Eepresentatives. Moderate Eepublicans generally 
supported the resolution; even pronounced anti- 
slavery men, such as Love joy in the House and 
Sumner in the Senate, indicated their willingness to 
join in the liberal compensation the President had 
proposed, if the loyal slave States would consent to 
relinquish their portion of the disturbing and dan- 
gerous evil. Since it was not a practical measure, 
but simply an announcement of policy, the opposi- 
tion was not strenuous ; a few border State Repre- 
sentatives and the more obstinate Democrats from 
free States joined in a somewhat ill-natured dissent. 
The resolution was passed on the following day 
(yeas, 89 ; nays, 31). The action of the Senate was 
very similar, though the debate was a little more 
delayed. The resolution was passed in that body 
April 2 (yeas, 32 ; nays, 10), and received the Presi- 
dent's signature on the 10th of April, 1862. 


By his initiative and influence Mr. Lincoln thus chap. xii. 
committed the executive and legislative depart- 
ments of the Grovernment to the policy of compen- 
sated emancipation; and there is no doubt that, 
had his generous offer been accepted by the border 
States within a reasonable time, the pledge em- 
bodied in the joint resolution would have been 
promptly redeemed. Though it afterwards turned 
out that this action remained only sentimental and , 
prospective, it nevertheless had no inconsiderable 
effect in bringing to pass a very important practical 

In its long contest for political supremacy, slavery 
had clung with unyielding tenacity to its foothold 
in the District of Columbia, where it had been the 
most irritating eyesore to Northern opinion. What- 
ever might be conceded to the doctrine of State 
sovereignty, antislavery men felt that the peculiar 
institution had no claim to the exclusive shelter of 
the Federal flag ; on the other hand, pro-slavery 
men saw that to relinquish this claim would be 
fatal to their determination to push it to national 
recognition. Hence the abolition or the mainte- 
nance of slavery in the District of Columbia had 
become a frequent issue in party politics. The 
prohibition of the slave-trade in the District was 
indeed effected in the great compromise of 1850; 
but this concession was more than counterbalanced 
by the pro-slavery gains of that political bargain, 
and since then the abolition of slavery itself in this 
central Federal jurisdiction seemed to have become 
impossible until rebellion provoked the change. 
Under the new conditions antislavery zeal was 
pushing its lance into every joint of the monster's 



Chap. XII. armor, and this vulnerable point was not over- 
looked. The Constitution placed the District of 
Columbia exclusively under the legislation of Con- 
gi'ess, and by their rebellious withdrawal from their 
seats in the two Houses the Southern Senators and 
Representatives had voluntarily surrendered this 
citadel of their propagandism. 

President Lincoln had not specifically recom- 
mended abohshment in the District in his annual 
message ; but he had introduced a bill for such a 
purpose when he was a Member of Congress in 
1849, and it was well known that his views had 
undergone no change. Later on, the already re- 
1862. cited special message of March 6 embraced the 
subject in its larger aspects and recommendations. 
Thus, with perfect knowledge that it would receive 
Executive sanction, the Senate on April 3 (yeas, 
29; nays, 14), and the House on April 11 (yeas, 
92 ; nays, 38), passed an act of immediate emanci- 
pation of the slaves in the District of Columbia, 
with compensation to the owners, to be distributed 
by a commission, the whole not to exceed an aggre- 
gate of $300 per slave. The act also appropriated 
the sum of $100,000 for expenses of voluntary emi- 
gration to Hayti or Liberia. 
President Lincoln signed the act on the 16th of 
1862. April, and in his short message of approval said : 
" I have never doubted the constitutional authority 
of Congress to abolish slavery in this District ; and 
I have ever desired to see the national capital freed 
from the institution in some satisfactory way. 
Hence there has never been in my mind any ques- 
tion upon the subject except the one of expediency, 
arising in view of all the circumstances. . . I am 


gratified that the two principles of compensation chap. xii. 
and colonization are both recognized and practi- "GioiDe," 
cally applied m the act." Certain omissions in the ^^f^^ 
law, which the President pointed out, were reme- 
died by supplementary enactments, which among 
other provisions added to the boon of freedom the 
privilege of education by opening public schools to 
colored children. 

p. 1680. 


"monitor" and "merrimac" 

ch. XIII. TN a great war such as that of the rebellion an 
JL inventive people like the Americans could not 
fail to originate novelties and develop progress in 
methods of fighting. The most critical point of the 
contest on both sides was the possibility of foreign 
intervention. This compelled the North to find 
effective means to enforce the long and diflScult 
sea-coast blockade; while for the South it con- 
stituted a prime object to break it. Both sides 
therefore turned eagerly to experiments in the 
new system of iron-clad ships. In the destruction 
of the Gosport navy yard at the outbreak of the 
war, the United States steam-frigate Merrimac was 
burned to the water's edge and sunk. The rebels 
soon raised her, and finding her hull undamaged, 
and the engines yet serviceable, they proceeded by 
help of the Tredegar iron-works, at Richmond, to 
convert her into an ironclad. A wedge-shaped 
prow of cast-iron, weighing 1500 pounds, was 
fastened to the stem two feet under water, and 
projecting about two feet in front. A roof of wood 
two feet thick, with its sides inclining at thirty-six 
degrees to the water's edge, was made to cover 
about two-thirds of the hull, being the central 


"monitor" and "meeeimac" 219 

part ; this was plated with iron armor composed ch. xiii. 

of two plates, each two inches thick. Within this *^e! jonet'' 

protection was placed a battery of ten guns, four southern^ 

on each broadside, and one each at the stem and Dec, 1874, 
' pp. 200, 201. 


The Navy Department at Washington was no 
less prompt to study the question of ironclads. 
The special session of Congress appropriated one 
and a half million of dollars for the work. A pub- 
lic advertisement invited plans and offers of con- 
struction. A competent board of naval officers 
examined the devices presented, and recommended 
three of the most promising, which by way of trial 
were put under contract. " Our immediate de- 8^;^^^^ 
mands," said their report, " seem to require, first, so ^ am'^s, 
far as practicable, vessels invulnerable to shot, of sevt°ik 
light draft of water, to penetrate our shoal har- "Armored 

Vesaela " 

bors, rivers, and bayous." Of the three plans pp. 2-7.' 
adopted the one presented by John Ericsson of 
New York, a Swede by birth but an American 
citizen by adoption, a man of original genius, of 
great scientific acquirements, and of long experi- 
ence in engineering service, proved in the end to 
conform best to these requirements. The board had 
doubts of its sea-going qualities, but at once recog- 
nized it as " a plan which will render the battery 
shot and shell proof." The hull, 127 feet long, 36 
feet wide, and 12 feet deep, was covered by a flat, 
overhanging deck, slightly wider but much longer, 
pointed at both ends, closed and made water-tight, 
and rising only one or two feet above the water- 
line. On this stood a revolving turret, twenty feet 
in diameter and nine feet high, composed of 
wrought-tron plates bolted, together to a total 


CH. XIII. thickness of eight inches. Inside this were two 
11-inch Dahlgren guns, trained side by side and 
revolving with the turret. Ericsson named his 
novel ship the Monitor. When public humor after- 
wards christened his invention by calling it a 
" cheese-box on a raft," the designation expressed 
the exact intention of his model. In observing the 
movements of timber-rafts down the Norwegian 
coast, he had noticed that they suffered no danger 
from the waves, which simply rolled over them. So 
the closed platform of the Monitor, which would 
permit the waves to roll freely over its surface, 
required only its comparatively thin edge above 
and below the water-line to be protected with 
heavy iron armor. By this clever device, weight, 
which is the main difficulty in armored ships, was 
reduced to a minimum, and enabled him to com- 
bine great thickness of mail with the utmost light- 
ness of draft. 

Information concerning the progress of the work 
on these first American ironclads reached both 
belligerents. The officers at Fort Monroe reported 

Gen°scott, i^i Octobcr, 1861, that the Merrimac (she was named 

oct6,^i86i. ^j^g Virginia by the rebels) would probably make 

p.'62o." an effort to get to sea. This proved a premature 

rumor. Late in the following February the Navy 

Department had more trustworthy information, 

"ALaisof through a Union mechanic then at work upon her, 
p. 20.''' that she was nearly finished. The rebels doubtless 
had similar information concerning the ironclads 
building at the North. But in each ease such 
clandestine knowledge was necessarily vague and 
fragmentary. Enough, however, was known in 
Washington to make it probable that the Merrimac 

"monitor" and "meerimag" 


would prove formidable in a naval contest. Delay 
had occurred in the work on the Union ironclads, 
the time of their possible presence there could not 
be fixed with certainty, and their ability to meet 
such an antagonist was purely a matter of specula- 
tion. When the Monitor was recommended by the 
Naval Board, and put under contract, even the 
most experienced and most sanguine officers had 
no expectation of the remarkable fighting powers 
she afterwards demonstrated. 

On Thursday night, the 6th of March, 1862, the 
Assistant Secretary of the Navy was called to a 
council of war then being held at the Executive 
Mansion, at which the President, Cabinet, and 
various military officers were present. The Pen- 
insular Campaign had been substantially agreed 
upon, but its details were yet under discussion. 
President Lincoln once more explained that taking 
the whole army first to Annapohs, to be embarked 
in transports, would appear to the extremely sensi- 
tive and impatient public opinion very much like 
a retreat from Washington. It would be impolitic 
to explain that it was merely a first step by way 
of the Chesapeake Bay and Fort Monroe towards 
Richmond. Could not, he asked, 50,000 or even 
10,000 men be moved in transports directly 
down the Potomac ? This would be a self-evident 
forward movement, which the public would com- 
prehend without explanation. The objection was 
that transports could not safely pass existing 
rebel batteries on the Potomac. Could not the 
navy destroy those batteries? Assistant Secretary 
Fox replied that the navy could silence the bat- 
teries, but that unless held by our army, they 

ch. xiir. 


J. G. N., 
da. MS. 


ch. XIII. would immediately be reoccupied, rebuilt, and 
again armed and manned by the rebels, and we 
needed a prolonged not a temporary respite. 

The army officers objected that to occupy, hold, 
and defend those batteries from land attacks would 
produce a local and partial movement and diver- 
sion only to cripple and delay the main and dis- 
tant expedition. Lincoln finally decided that the 
navy should in any event engage and silence the 
Potomac batteries, even if only for a temporary 

weuesto and moral effect. There being as yet no telegraph 

iseTand' to Fort Monroc, orders were transmitted by sea 

Mlraton" directing that certain ships of war, and the Monitor 
ISM*'' w.E. which that day sailed from New York, should 

vv- 17. 18. ascend the Potomac for this duty. The Merrimac 
was for the moment forgotten, but being remem- 
bered next day, supplementary orders were sent 

MirstoS! directing a suspension of action till Assistant Sec- 
i862^''w.\ retary Fox could visit Fort Monroe and consult 

^p.'i8^' the naval officers in command. When he arrived 
there on Sunday morning, an important naval 
engagement had occurred, the renewal and con- 
clusion of which he witnessed. 

Three Union frigates lay at anchor under the 
guns of Fort Monroe, and two others under the guns 
of the Union earthworks near Newport News, 
six miles to the southwest, when on Saturday, 
1862. March 8, about noon, the Merrimac appeared in the 
mouth of the Elizabeth River channel, which enters 
Hampton Eoads about midway between the points 
named above, and headed directly for Newport 
News. She was accompanied by two small tugs 
armed with one gun each, while three other side- 
wheel steamers out of the James River, respectively 

"monitor" and "meeeimao" 223 

of one, two, and twelve guns, also joined the Mer- ch. xm. 
rimac after tlie attack. The ships at Fort Monroe ^Report" 
immediately slipped their cables and started for i86f.™w. e. 

Vol. IX. 

the encounter, following the Merrimac towards the p- «■ " 
southwest — the Minnesota (twin-ship to the original 
Merrimac) under steam, the St. Lawrence, sailing 
frigate, in tow of a gunboat, and the Boanoke, with a 
broken shaft, towed by tugs. But owing to a recent 
northwest gale, water was low in the channel, and all 
of these vessels, being of deep draft, soon grounded — 
the Minnesota north of the middle ground, one and 
a half miles from Newport News, the St. Lawrence 
near her, and the Boanoke still farther behind. Be- 
yond an occasional exchange of fire at long distances 
they were therefore unable to join in the main fight. 
The sailing frigate Congress, and the razeed frigate 
Cumberland, anchored at Newport News, saw the 
Merrimac coming, and prepared for action. Plow- 
ing up the bay, with her sloping roof and her low 
prow, she looked to them " like a huge half-sub- 
merged crocodile." Her warning shot was given 
when yet a mile away. Exchanging a broadside ^^862!*' 
with the Congress as she passed her at the distance 
of three hundred yards, she rushed full speed at the 
Cumberland,-w'hich. had opened on her with her pivot 
guns, and now greeted her with broadsides as she 
neared. But neither the broadsides of the wooden 
ships, nor the fire of the shore batteries, had any 
apparent effect. The showering iron hail glanced and 
bounded from the sloping, tortoise-shaped back of 
the leviathan like india-rubber baUs. On and on she 
came with accelerated momentum, till within fifteen 
minutes after the first shot was fired she struck the 
Cumberland forward of the starboard fore-chains. 



Ch. xin. 
Jones, In 




Dee., 1874, 

p. 202. 




" Eebelllon 


Vol. IV., 


p. 269. 

March 8, 

Jones, in 




Dec., 1874, 

p. 202. 

The crash of her iron prow through the timbers and 
hull " was distinctly heard above the din of battle." 
The attacked vessel was forced back upon her an- 
chors with great violence, and a hole the si^e of a 
hogshead was opened in the hull, into which the 
water rushed in a deluge. Pumps were of no 
avail against such a flood, and the good ship was 
doomed. And, besides this, the shells of her iron- 
cased destroyer were spreading death on her decks. 
As she backed away but yet hovered over her vic- 
tim at convenient nearness, her guns continued 
to belch forth irresistible havoc. 

History records no more determined bravery than 
was displayed by the officers and crew of the Ciim- 
berland. Neither present disaster nor impending 
danger checked their devoted heroism. With men 
cut down at their guns, and the ship settling to her 
fate under their feet, they answered broadside with 
broadside, shot with shot. When the water in the 
hold rose and drowned the forward magazine, they 
still passed up powder from the one aft. The last 
gun was fired when the sea was already running 
into the muzzle of the gun beside it. After three- 
quarters of an hour of such fighting the gallant 
ship, with the dead and wounded of her crew, and 
some even of her heroic defenders who clung dog- 
gedly to their posts after orders had been given to 
save themselves, went to the bottom in fifty feet 
of water with the stars and stripes still flying from 
her masthead. Her antagonist did not come from 
the encounter entirely unharmed. The blow which 
sunk the Cnmherland wrenched off her iron prow 
and slightly twisted her stem. The Cumberland's 
solid shot broke the muzzles of two of her guns 

"monitob" and "mekkimac" 


and killed two of her men, -wounding nineteen 

Ebb tide having begun, the Merrimac steamed a 
short distance up stream to turn, and then attacked 
the Congress which lay several hundred yards east 
of the Cumberland. The Congress, seeing the fate 
of her companion, slipped her cable, and by using 
her sails, and with the help of a tug, ran ashore and 
grounded where the iron monster could not follow. 
But the precaution was futile. The Merrimac, re- 
turning, took up a raking position off her quarter 
at two cables' length, soon silenced the few guns 
that bore upon her, and after an hour's fight, 
creating frightful carnage, the commander having 
been kiUed and the ship set on fire in several 
places, the Congress struck her colors. Confed- 
erate oflQ.cers charge that fire was again opened 
from the Congress after surrender, which Union 
officers deny. The conflict of assertion is probably 
explained by the circumstance that fire was opened 
upon the rebel boats from the shore with both can- 
non and musketry, a proceeding perfectly justifi- 
able by the laws of war. The event caused the 
Merrimacto open once more on the Congress with hot 
shot and incendiary shells, and whether from these 
or other causes she burned till midnight, when the 
explosion of her magazine ended the conflagration. 
The Merrimac, with her consorts, withdrew from the 
field of conflict, firing at both the Minnesota and 8t. 
Lawrence as they passed down the channel at the 
distance of a mile, but the Merrimac offered no 
serious attack, probably expecting to capture them 
the following day. At nightfall the rebel flotilla 
anchored under the guns of their shore batteries on 
Vol. v.— 15 

Ch. XIII. 

Jones in 



Dec, 1874, 

and Pen- 




Vol. IV., 


pp. 269, 270. 


March 10, 

1862. W. E. 
Vol. IX., 
pp. 4, 5. 

March 9, 

226 ABBAHAM LINCOLN Sewall's Point at the entrance of the channel to 
Norfolk, whence they had come. Among the Union 
commanders the gloomy disasters of the afternoon 
were heightened by the seemingly hopeless appre- 
hension for the morrow. With great difficulty the 
tugs had hauled the Boanoke and St. Lawrence back 
to Fort Monroe ; the Minnesota was hard aground. 
But what ship, ashore or afloat, could stand before 
this new and terrible marine engine, that moved 
unharmed through the repeated broadsides of the 
most powerful naval armaments ? 

Telegraphic news of these events reached Wash- 
ington the next morning, Sunday, and the hasty 
meeting of the Cabinet and other officials who 
immediately gathered at the White House was per- 

"Annais'of haps the most excited and impressive of the whole 

the War ** 

pp. 24, 25. war. Stanton, unable to control his strong emotion, 
walked up and down the room like a caged Hon. 
McClellan was dumfounded and silent. Lincoln 
was, as usual in trying moments, composed but 
eagerly inquisitive, critically scanning the dis- 
patches, interrogating the officers, joining scrap 
to scrap of information, applying his searching 
analysis and clear logic to read the danger and 
find the remedy; Chase impatient and ready to 
utter blame; Seward and Welles hopeful, yet with- 
out encouraging reasons to justify their hope. The 
possibihties of the hour were indeed sufficiently 
portentous to create consternation. What might 
not this new and irresistible leviathan" of the 
deep accomplish! A fleet destroyed; Fort Mon- 
roe besieged ; the blockade broken ; the Eichmond 
campaign thwarted; New York laid under con- 
tribution ; Washington City and the public build- 

"monitor" and "mekeimac" 


Ch. XIII. 

ings burned and the Grovernment in flight ;^ foreign 
intervention would surely follow a succession of 
events like these, which heated imagination easily- 
called up. Even at the risk of creating a momen- 
tary panic it seemed necessary to warn the authori- 
ties of the seaboard cities to prepare aU possible 
resources of their own for defense. The best avail- 
able provision to make Washington City secure, that 
could be suggested, was to prepare and load barges 
and canal-boats to be sunk in the channel of the 
Potomac at Kettlebottom Shoals and other points. 
Quartermaster-General Meigs and Captain Dahlgren 
were charged by the Secretary of War with this duty. 
Since guns were of no avail against the Merrimac, 
it was decided to have recourse to her own process 
of ramming. For this purpose the strongest and 
swiftest merchant steamer in New York, the Van- 
derhilt, was chartered, strengthened by filling her 
bow with timbers and plating it outside with iron, 
and sent to Fort Monroe under orders to try to 
run down her antagonist, at the first opportunity, 
and at whatever risk. But more effective help had 
arrived, and even while these counsels were in pro- 
gress, was bringing the question to a practical 
solution. By the light of the burning Congress, on 
Saturday night a rebel pilot saw a strange craft MagazfnS" 

-r-r Dec 1874 

glide into the waters of Hampton Eoads; it was p. "204. 
the Monitor, which, safely towed from New York, 
arrived between nine and ten o'clock. So little 
was the new system and model in favor, that the 

in " The 

1 Mr. Welles, who was in the 
habit of coldly noting in his dead- 
ly diary all the indiscretions of 
his colleagues, says that Mr. 
Stanton closed his list of sinister 

prophecies by predicting that a 
shell or a cannon-shot from the 
Merrimac would probably land 
in the Cabinet-room before they 



Ch. XIII. 
Worden to 


March 8, 




p. 14. 

Van Brunt 

to Welles, 

March 10, 


IWd., p. 18. 

Van Brunt, 


March 10, 

1862. Ibid. 


in " The 



Dec, 1874, 

p. 201. 

older oflcers of the navy had generally condemned 
it in advance and manifested no ambition to com- 
mand her. Lieutenant John L. "Worden, however, 
had accepted the duty, and was immediately in- 
formed that a critical trial was at hand. A little 
after midnight he moved to a station near the Minne- 
sota, which was stUl aground. 

On Sunday morning, March 9, the Merrimac once 
more came out and steamed towards the Minnesota, 
with the expectation of easUy capturing or destroy- 
ing her, hut as she approached the Monitor went 
out to meet her. "The contrast was that of a 
pigmy to a giant." The Merrimac was twice her 
length and breadth, had more than four times her 
displacement, and five times as many guns. But 
her great draft, twenty-two feet, confined her ma- 
noeuvres to deep water, while the Monitor dramng 
only ten feet could run where she pleased. The 
huge tortoise-back of the Merrimac was an easy 
target, whUe her broadsides passed harmlessly 
over the low, flat deck of the Monitor, only one or 
two feet above water. The shore spectators now 
witnessed a prolonged and exciting naval duel. 
The small rebel gunboats withdrew. The Merrimac 
occasionally exchanged fire with the Minnesota, but 
her principal fight was with the Monitor. The two 
irouclads moved fearlessly towards each other, firing 
as favorable opportunity offered. But the nine-inch 
and eleven-inch shells glanced without effect alika 
from the sloping roof of the Merrimac and the 
round side of the Monitor's tower. The superior 
mobility of the latter proved a great advantage. 
" She and her turret," says the rebel commander, 
" appeared to be under perfect control. Her light 

"monitor" and "mereimac" 


draft enabled her to move about us at pleasure, ch. xm. 
Sbe once took position for a short time where we 
could not bring a gun to bear on her. Another of 
her movements caused us great anxiety : she made 
for our rudder and propeller, both of which could 
have been easily disabled. We could only see her 
guns when they were discharged; immediately 
afterwards the turret revolved rapidly, and the 
guns were not again seen until they were again 
fired. . . When we saw that our fire made no im- 
pression on the Monitor we determined to run into 
her, if possible. We found it a very difficult feat to 
do. Our great length and draft, in a compara- 
tively narrow channel with but little water to spare, 
made us sluggish in our movements and hard to 
steer and turn. When the opportunity presented 
all steam was put on ; there was not, however, suf- 
ficient time to gather full headway before striking. 
The blow was given with the broad wooden stem, 
the iron prow having been lost the day before, ta^'rhe 
The Monitor received the blow in such a manner as Magaztae," 
to weaken its effect, and the damage was to her pp. 264, 205. 
trifling." ^ 

l"DTirmg the engagement, 
Worden had taken his place in 
the pilot-house, from the lookout- 
holes of which he was able to see 
the course of the action, and to 
direct the working of the ship and 
of the guns. Greene had charge 
of the turret and handled the iDat- 
tery. . . The situation in the 
turret was a difficult one. Shut 
up in a revolving iron cask on a 
moving platform, and cut off from 
the captain except through slow 
and imperfect communication by 
passing the word, when minutes 
and even seconds were important, 

Greene fought under heavy disad- 
vantages. The direction of the 
bow and stern, and of the star- 
board and port beam, were marked 
on the stationary flooring, but the 
marks were soon obliterated, and 
after one or two revolutions it was 
impossible to guess at the direc- 
tion of the ship or the position of 
the enemy. The only openings 
through which anything could be 
seen were the gun-ports ; and 
these were closed except at the 
moment of firing, as an entering 
shot would havedisabledthe guns. 
Curiously enough, neither of the 


ch. XIII. Three hours passed in tMs singular contest. The 
Monitor had fired forty-one shots. She inflicted no 
direct damage, neither did she receive any. On 
both sides the shells only made slight indentations 
in the thick iron armor. Yet it was apparent to the 
rebel ofiieers that the little " cheese-box on a raft " 
was gradually wearing out her bulky antagonist. 
It became evident that if the Merrimac were by 
accident struck twice in the same place, her shield 
would be penetrated. She was already leaking 
badly. Her loss of prow, anchor, and consumption 

in°°The of coal was raising her so as dangerously to expose 

MagazSe!" her water-liue, where the iron plating was only one 

pp. 206, 206. inch thick ; a chance shot here would send her to 

the bottom. But at this time the Monitor met with 

a serious accident. Her pilot-house was constructed 

of great iron logs, nine by twelve inches thick, laid 

up after the manner of a log-cabin, leaving spaces 

of half an inch between them, through which to 

observe the enemy and steer the ship. Lieutenant 

^ Worden, the commander, was standing in this pilot- 

Stuners to ' ' o jr 

Mareho' ^^^^^^ giving ordcrs, when one of the Merrimac^s 

Moore, shells struck the outside of the logs between which 

" Record?" he was looking. The concussion drove the smoke 

^Doci>" and iron-dust through with such force as tempo- 

vv^^w,%n. rarily to blind him, disabling him from command, 

and causing a short suspension of aU guidance of 

the Monitor until he could be properly cared for. 

When, however, after the lapse of some twenty 

port-stoppers was struck, though governing the movements of the 

the edges of the ports and the turret so little under control, that 

turret-wall between them were it was left stationary, and the ship 

jagged and dented by the Merri- was fought and the guns poiuted 

ma<fs shot. At last the difficulties by the helm." — J. E. Soley, " The 

became so great, the revolutions Blockade and the Cruisers,'' pp. 

so confusing, and the mechanism 69, 70. 

"monitor" and "meeeimac" 231 

minutes, Lieutenant Greene, the second officer, ch. xm. 
wlio had by Worden's direction assunaed command, 
turned Ms vessel again to face his antagonist, he 
saw that the Merrimac had already started in the „ 

*' Greene, 

direction of Elizabeth River. He fired a few shots ce'ntury^" 
after her, but she continued her retreat, refusing ^^^^^l^^ll] 
further combat. in "The 

If, as the rebel commander states, the Merrimac Magazfn"," 
was yet willing to have continued the fight, she p-'sos. ' 
was equally ready to consent to its cessation. 
Making no further effort to shell the Minnesota, 
which still lay aground within easy reach of her 

March 9 

guns, she quit the waters of Hampton Eoads at noon, i862. 
three hours before high water, and steamed back to 
Norfolk whence she had come. In reality the con- 
test had been decided by the evident prospective 
superiority of the Monitor rather than by any pres- 
ent necessity of either combatant. Counted merely 
by blows received and given it was a drawn battle. 
But, practically, a victory, which seemed provi- 
dential in its sudden relief and immense results, 
remained with the Monitor. The whole event was 
even still broader in its effect. That three hoiirs' 
battle in Hampton Roads changed the naval war- 
fare of the civilized world. A quarter of a century 
has elapsed and still the great powers of Europe 
are testing the yet unsolved problem of the largest 
gun to destroy, and the strongest armor to protect, 
a ship-of-war. 

The welcome news reached the Washington au- 
thorities that same night by the newly laid tele- 
graph, changing deep anxiety into lively exultation. 
Lincoln, always prudent, at once saw clearly the 
immense value of the Monitor^ s victory, and resolved 


CH. XIII. it should not be placed in jeopardy. He therefore 
^fJ>X*" sent orders that she should not be unduly exposed, 
imIi'^'w.^r. and that on no account should she attempt to go to 
^p/a^sf" Norfolk alone. The preparations for blocking the 
Potomac channel were completed and held in con- 
stant readiness, and several additional swift mer- 
chant vessels were soon after stationed at Fort 
Monroe to make the destruction of the Merrimac 
reasonably sure by running her down. It turned 
out that she was never in a condition to go to sea, 
and that her great draft prevented her ascending 
the Potomac. After the Peninsular Campaign was 
begun, there was always an immense number of 
Union transports in the adjacent waters, to which 
she could have done incalculable damage. For 
about two months she thus remained a vague 
terror, though the menace was effectually "neutra- 
lized " by the Monitor and the merchant war vessels 
assembled in triple and quadruple force to oppose 
and annihilate her. On her part the Merrimac 
profited by the blockade to which she was sub- 
jected, by being repaired and much strengthened, 
by a new steel and wrought-iron prow, by iron plat- 
ing on her hull, and unproved ammunition. On 
the 11th of April she descended again to Hampton 
Roads, in company with three rebel gunboats and 
nine small tugs. But beyond getting the various 
unarmed vessels out of the way the Union fleet 
made no movement ; for its orders provided that 
the Monitor and other vessels should not be sepa- 
rated, but that if the Merrimac came out into favor- 
able waters they should all go at her. " The position 
is one of defiance on both sides," wrote a newspaper 
correspondent; "the rebels are challenging us to 

"monitoe" and "mekeimao" 233 

come up to their field of battle, and we are daring ch. xm. 
them to come down." The Union fleet understood 
too well its primary duty of keeping the Merrimac 
from any possibility of reaching the army trans- 
ports in York Eiver, while on their part the rebel 
officers were also restrained by orders to remain 
for the protection of Norfolk.-^ No battle grew out 
of this game of strategy, and at night the rebel 
vessels withdrew. 

We must anticipate somewhat the chronological 
order of events to bring within the present chapter 
the final fate of both the Monitor and Merrimac. 
In the progress of the Peninsular Campaign, when j^^^^ ^^ 
the Confederates found McCleUan's army advancing May i^ wei 
against Richmond in such powerful numbers, it "E?8e^'d 
became necessary to draw in all available detach- comfed-* 
ments for the defense of their capital, and on the 1st emment," 
of May the evacuation of Norfolk was determined p- ^^■ 
upon. On the 4th of May the Merrimac was ordei'ed '^^'^^^l' 
to take station where she could prevent the Union ^iiy*' 
forces from ascending the James Eiver. Huger, "Rfbemon 
the rebel military commander, however, obtained voi"v.', 
a postponement of this duty till his preparations ments, p.46. 
for evacuation should be further advanced. 

1 " On the 28tli of April, Gen- and that if this should be safely 

eral J. E. Johnston wrote to Flag- done, according to the inf orma- 

officer Tatnall, commanding the tion derived from the pilots, it 

naval forces in the James Eiver, would not be possible for the 

requesting him, if practicable, to Virginia to reach the enemy's 

proceed with the Virginia to York transports at Poquosin, while the 

Eiver for the purpose of destroy- withdrawal of the Virginia would 

ing the enemy's transports, to be to abandon the defense of 

which Commodore Tatnall replied Norfolk, and to remove the obsta- 

that it could only be done ia day- cles she opposed to ' the enemy's 

light, when he would be exposed operations in the James Eiver.' " 

to the fire of the forts, and have — Davis, "Else and Fall of the 

to contend with the squadron of Confederate Government." Vol. 

men-of-war stationed below them, II., pp. 90, 91. 


ch. XIII. It happened by a curious coincidence that Presi- 
dent Lincoln, Secretary Chase, and Secretary 
1862. Stanton started in the evening of the 5th of May 
for a visit to Fort Monroe. So far as is known it 
had only a general object : to ascertain by personal 
observation whether some further vigilance and 
vigor might not be infused into the operations of 
the army and navy at that point. Delayed by bad 
weather on the Potomac, they arrived at their des- 
tination on Tuesday night, May 6. Late as it 
was they immediately proceeded to the steamship 
Minnesota, and held a conference with Commodore 
^aulhte?,^ L. M. Goldsborough, the flag-ofificer, "about the 
^walhln^' condition of things " and " military and naval 
""^a p."' movements in connection with the dreaded Merri- 
pp. 426^427. mac." Next day, May 7, the party visited the 
various places of interest — the Vanderbilt, the 
Monitor, the ruined village of Hampton, the Eip 
Eaps and Fort Monroe, with doubtless a running 
council of war among themselves and the naval 
and military commanders; for two important orders 
appear to have been given by the President that 
same Wednesday evening, preparations for execut- 
ing which were made during the night. In pursu- 
ance of these orders, on the morning of Thursday, 
May 8, the new ironclad Galena with two other 
Stanton to guuboats Were sent up the James Eiver; and a 
M7yt°mi. considerable section of the reinaining fleet moved 
voi.'xi., across the waters of the bay to an attack on the 

Part III 

p. 163. ■' Confederate Sewall's Point batteries. This was a 
reconnaissance in force ; troops were already em- 
barked in transports to push across and effect a 
landing if it appeared practicable, with a view to 
advance on Norfolk. But the cannonade from the 

"monitor" and "meeeimac" 235 

ships called f ortli a spirited reply from the rebel ch. xm. 
batteries on Sewall's Point, and after a while the 
Merrimac appeared to take part in the fray. " All 
the big wooden vessels," writes Chase, who with 
Lincoln and Stanton witnessed the bombardment 
from the Eip Raps, " began to haul off. The Monitor 
and Stevens, however, held their ground. The 
Merrimac still came on slowly, and in a little while 
there was a clear sheet of water between her and ^a'a^ul^te^^ 
the Monitor. Then the great rebel terror paused, ^^warcien?' 
then turned back, and having finally attained what "s!'^p.*" 
she considered a safe position, became stationary p.m. 

" That was thought to have shown the inability 
of an attempt to land at Sewall's Point while the 
Merrimac lay watching it," says Chase, in another 
letter, and the troops were disembarked from the 
transports. But all this commotion had stirred up 
inquiry and elicited information ; and a pilot sug- 
gested that a landing might be found to the east- 
ward beyond Willoughby Point. Against the 
general incredulity of the officers. Chase on Friday 
morning, May 9, took the revenue cutter Miami, 1862. 
on which the party had come from Washington, 
and a tug, and went on a reconnaissance to the 
shore indicated. Here, some five or six miles from 
Fort Monroe, soundings disclosed a feasible land- 
ing, undefended by batteries or even pickets, and 
a boat sent ashore obtained valuable information 
of passable roads leading to Norfolk. " When I got 
back to Fort Monroe," continues Chase, "I found 
the President had been listening to a pilot and 
studying a chart, and had become impressed with 
a conviction that there was a nearer landing and 


CH. xni. wished to go and see about it on the spot. So we 
started again and soon reached the shore, taking 
with us a large boat and some twenty armed sol- 
diers from the Eip Raps. The President and Mr. 
Stanton were on the tug and I on the Miami. The 
tug was of course nearest shore, and as soon as 
she found the water too shoal for her to go farther 
Chase to his safely, the Eip Eaps boat was manned and sent 
*^Ma?uf' in- • • We had again found a good landing, which 
Warden, at the time I supposed to be between two and three 
"^p"* miles nearer Fort Monroe, but which proved to be 
pp. 428430. only one-half or three-quarters of a mile nearer." 
It is probable that these opportune discoveries 
were supplemented by other important informa- 
tion. On the previous evening (of Thursday) a 
Norfolk tug-boat seized the favorable opportunity 
to desert from the rebel service and run into New- 
port News. Its officers reported that Norfolk was 
being evacuated by the Confederates, and that the 
two or three thousand troops yet there would prob- 
ably soon be gone. When therefore the officials and 
officers were once more assembled at Fort Monroe, 
an immediate advance to Norfolk was agreed upon, 
and troops were again embarked on transports 
and other preparations hurried forward on Friday 

On Saturday morning. May 10, a successful land- 
ing and debarkation was effected at the point exam- 
ined by the President, and General Wool marched 
to Norfolk with a force of nearly six thousand 
men. It is easy to glean from the various accounts 
that there was great want of foresight and con- 
fusion in aU the military arrangements, and the 
Secretary of the Treasury, who accompanied the 

"monitor" and "meeeimac" 


advance, was probably gratified by the entirely 
unexpected r61e of being for once in his life the 
generalissimo of a military campaign. They met 
only the merest show of resistance and delay at 
a burning bridge, which was overcome by an 
easy detour. By evening they passed through the 
strong but abandoned intrenchments and received 
from the Mayor of Norfolk the official surrender of 
the city. The navy yard at Grosport was in flames, 
but the heavy guns which armed the earthworks 
remained as trophies. A military governor was 
appointed, and protection promised to peaceful in- 
habitants, and from that time forward Norfolk 
remained under the authority of the Union flag. 
The most substantial fruit of the movement soon 
followed. The officers of the Merrimac observed 
on Saturday morning, from their moorings in the 
mouth of Elizabeth River, that the Confederate 
flag was no longer flying over the Sewall's Point 
batteries ; and investigation during the day proved 
the landing and march of the Union forces, the 
precipitate retreat of the rebel troops from all 
points, and the final surrender and occupation of 
Norfolk. The unwieldy crocodile-back ironclad 
was thus caught between two fires. "The ship," 
reports her commander, " was accordingly put on 
shore, as near the mainland in the vicinity of 
Craney Island as possible, and the crew landed. 
She was then fired, and after burning fiercely, fore 
and aft, for upward of an hour, blew up a little 
before five on the morning of the 11th." 

The President receiving the welcome news at the 
moment of departure for "Washington, prolonged 
his stay to accompany the dehghted dignitaries 

ch. xiir. 

Egbert L. 
Viele, in 
" Soribner's 
Oct., 1878. 

May 14, 

" Eebelllon 
Vol. v.. 
ments, p. 47. 



Ch. xiii. 

Chase to his 
May H, 

"Life of 

S. P. 
p. 432. 

and officers on a flying trip up Elizabeth Eiver to 
the newly captured town, and then the prow of the 
Miami, on Sunday evening, plowed past Fort Mon- 
roe and up the Potomac. " So," writes Chase in 
conclusion, "has ended a brilhant week's campaign 
of the President ; for I think it quite certain that 
if he had not come down Norfolk would still have 
been in possession of the enemy, and the Merrimac 
as grim and defiant and as much a terror as ever. 
The whole coast is now virtually ours." ^ 

Like the Merrimac the Monitor also had a dra- 
matic end. After various services she was, in the 
following December, sent to sea under sealed orders, 
and foundered in a gale off Cape Hatteras, nearly 
all the officers and crew, however, being saved by 
boats from the Rhode Island, which was towing 
her. Thus the pioneer ships of the new system of 
iron armor did not long survive their first famous 
exploit that so astounded the nations of the earth. 
Other Union ironclads of a different model had 
joined the Hampton Roads squadron before the 
destruction of the Merrimac; and before the Moni- 
tor went down she had given her name as a generic 
term to a whole fleet built after her model, her 
first successor, the monitor Passaic, having already 
reached the seat of war for active service. 

1 The Secretary claims too much Merrimac had been ordered by 
for the expedition, in view of the the rebel authorities as a conse- 
fact that the evacuation of Nor- quence of the evacuation of York- 
folk and the destruction of the town. 



MENTION has been made of the very peculiar chap. xiv. 
sea-front of the State of North Carolina. 
Other States on the Atlantic have, like it, the nai'- 
row fringe of sand-bank constituting the extreme 
outer coast within which lies a network of inlets, 
islands, bayous, and rivers. But North Carolina, 
unlike the rest, contains behind this false coast 
a magnificent crescent-shaped inland sea whose 
sweeping outline covers more than a degree of lat- 
itude. This vast water-sheet has two separate 
names. The upper or northern part, called Albe- 
marle Sound, extends sixty miles west into the 
mainland, with a width of fifteen miles near the 
ocean and tapering to a point at the entrance of 
the Chowan Eiver. The lower or southern part, 
called Pamlico Sound, is perhaps twice as large, 
extending eighty miles to the southwest, having 
a width of from ten to thirty miles and a depth of 
twenty feet varied by shoals. Both sounds would 
probably have been combined under a single name 
were it not that nearly midway of the arc lies 
Roanoke Island, twelve miles long and three miles 
wide, indicating a division though by no means sep- 
arating them; for their waters remain connected 



Chap. XIV. by the narrower Croatan Sound on the west and 
Roanoke Sound on the east of the island. 

When Forts Hatteras and Clark were captured 
by the Union forces on the 29th of August, 1861, the 
Confederates fixed upon Roanoke Island as the 
nearest defensible point, and began the erection of 
batteries to hold the narrow channels. While the 
possession of the forts at Hatteras Inlet was of vast 
importance to the Union blockading fleet, it soon 
became evident that other lodgments must be made 
to afford full control of the interior waters of North 
Carolina. The Hatteras forts, bmlt on the narrow 
banks of the outer coast-line, were not very defen- 
sible ; in high water they were nearly submerged, 
and there was constant danger that they might be 
seriously damaged by the severe storms frequent on 
that coast. Officers of good judgment reported that 
they formed no suitable base for operations into the 
interior, and recommended the capture and occu- 
pation of Roanoke Island. Its strategic value was 
so evident that it needed little urging upon the at- 
tention of the Grovernment. It would form a safe 
and useful base of operations ; it would render 
blockade-running in that locality well-nigh impos- 
sible ; more important than aU, the complete occu- 
pation of the interior coast would open a practicable 
back door to Richmond. " Roanoke Island," wrote 
the local rebel commander, "is the key of one-third 
^o"p^^ of North Carolina, and whose occupancy by the 

186*?.°' w^'e. enemy would enable him to reach the great railroad 

^p.'esl' from Richmond to New Orleans." 

Chance favored the gi-adual growth of an expe- 
dition for this work. During the summer and 
autumn of 1861, while McClellan was so tediously 

r J 




' .1 ' 1 


organizing his great army, refusing to allow detach- chap. xiv. 
ments and postponing all movements, the Potomac 
River fell into a condition of quasi blockade from 
rebel batteries hastily established at eligible points, 
and which, though from time to time shelled out 
and driven away, persistently reappeared to en- 
danger navigation. " For several months," says 
the report of the Secretary of the Navy, " the com- 
merce on this important avenue to the national 
capital was almost entirely suspended, though at 
no time was the passage of our armed naval vessels 
prevented." General McClellan felt unwilling or 
unable to relieve this stress by a forward move- 
ment. Yet not entirely insensible to such a military 
disgrace almost at the tent-doors of the army, he 
took refuge in a half-way measure suggested by 
Greneral Ambrose E. Burnside, his classmate and 
intimate friend, and recommended the formation of 
a "coast division" with suitable vessels such as 
might be enlisted and collected from the various 
sea-coast towns of New England ; the officers and 
men to be sufficiently conversant with boat service 
to manage steamers, sailing vessels, surf -boats, etc. ; 
in short, to be as expert in the duty of the sailor as 
of the soldier ; the whole to form an integral part 
of the Army of the Potomac, but specially intended 
for operation in the inlets of the Chesapeake Bay 
and Potomac River. It was in the day of McClel- 
lan's high.est popularity, when the Government 
eagerly gratified his slightest wish; accordingly 
General Burnside was sent to carry out his own 
suggestion and succeeded without difficulty in rais- 
ing the desired force. 
The selection of commander was not injudicious ; 
Vol. v.— 16 


Chap. XIV. Bumside was a Rhode Islander and also a graduate 
of "West Point, who had hitherto been singularly 
favored in attracting popular admiration and ap- 
plause. The Grovernors of the States to which he 
was sent seconded his mission with praiseworthy 
zeal. Before he had finished his task wider designs 
were matured by the Grovernment, and he was in- 
trusted with the more important duty of leading 
his amphibious coast division to the waters of North 
Carolina. His regiments began assembling at An- 
napolis early in November, but, incurring the usual 
delays, the month of December passed before his 
whole force proceeded to his second rendezvous at 
Fort Monroe in complete preparation to set sail. 
Golds- Here also he was joined by a fleet of twenty vessels 

Xpoft!' of war, under command of Flag-officer Goldsbor- 

Jau. 23 . 

1862. ' ough, detailed to accompany and assist him. Gen- 
eral McClellan gave Burnside his final orders on 
January 7, 1862, directing him to assume command 
of the Department of North Carolina, which had 
been created, including the Hatteras forts. His 
instructions were to first seize and hold Roanoke 
Island, then to capture New Berne, next to attempt 
the capture of Fort Macon and open the harbor of 
Beaufort ; also, if possible, to penetrate into the in- 
terior from New Berne and seize the raikoad at 
Goldsboro'. The whole expedition went to sea from 
Fort Monroe on the evening of January 11, 1862. 
Bm-nside's army numbered a total of 12,829 men, 
w.E. divided into three brigades respectively under 
^p.'slf." Generals John G. Foster, Jesse L. Reno, and John 
G. Parke. These with their supplies were em- 
barked on a motley collection of transports, about 
a hundred in number — steamers, schooners, tug- 


boats, every description of craft that was deemed chap.xiv. 
seaworthy, and which could be made useful in the 
shallow North Carolina sounds. The whole fleet 
sailed under sealed orders, which were opened 
when the vessels were twenty miles from Fort 

It was only a favorable day's run from the ren- 
dezvous to the Hatteras forts, and during that part 
of the voyage the fleet had the benefit of good 
weather; but before the ships began to assemble, 
the sea was so boisterous that there was great diffi- 
culty in passing through Hatteras Inlet. Some 
seventy of the vessels managed to get in behind the 
comparative shelter of the outer coast ; the others 
were compelled to encounter the fury of a storm ^^^^^;, 
which set in, and which, the general states, con- ^^Ig^^^- 
tinned almost incessantly twenty-eight days. Three oi^the* 
steamers and half a dozen sailing vessels were lost, ^°^the^ 
but, strange to say, only three lives. The remain- tue war. 
ing ships were, by great exertion, got through the 
Inlet a few days after the arrival. Once inside, 
another trouble was at hand. A difficult bar called 
the Bulkhead, with only seven and a half feet of 
water, had to be crossed; and nearly a month of 
delay occurred in getting the expedition over this 
obstruction. On the 6th of February tjie fleet re- isea. 
newed its advance ; numbering seventeen ships-of- 
war, carrying forty-eight guns and 7500 troops. 
The remainder of the force was left behind at 
Hatteras. The thirty-eight miles of intervening 
distance were soon passed over ; on the evening of 
February 7 the men-of-war engaged the shore bat- 
teries on Eoanoke Island. During the long delay 
in the advance, the enemy had become thoroughly 



Chap. XIV. 





W. E. 

Vol. IX., 

pp. 98, 99 ; 

and Foster, 


to tlie 


on Conduct 

of the War, 

Nov. 2, 1866. 

informed of the expected attack, and strengtliened 
their position by every available device. 

At best, however, it proved what the rebel com- 
mander called it, an unequal conflict. The principal 
defenses consisted of several strong forts on the 
northern end of the island ; a row of piles and 
sunken vessels to obstruct the ship-channel in 
Oroatan Sound ; and a fleet of seven rebel gunboats 
stationed behind it. While Groldsborough with his 
war vessels was engaging these on the afternoon of 
the 7th, the army division was landed without seri- 
ous resistance near Ashby's harbor, midway of the 
island. The island is long and naiTow and a prin- 
cipal road runs along the middle of it from south to 
north. Not far above the landing-place what were 
supposed to be impenetrable swamps approached 
the road on either side, leaving it a mere cause- 
way. Across this causeway the rebels erected a 
strong breastwork and rifle-pits to the right and 
left. A force of infantry, variously estimated at 
from one to two thousand, supported this apparently 
serious obstruction. Early on the morning of the 
8th the Union troops advanced up the road ; Fos- 
ter, the senior brigadier-general, in the center, 
Parke on the right, and Eeno on the left. While 
Foster engaged the main work at the causeway with 
field-pieces, the other brigade commanders respec- 
tively undertook to flank it, through the swamps to 
the right and the left. Two hours passed in this effort, 
and finally Reno and his men, forcing their way in 
the water waist-deep amid thick, tangled under- 
brush, succeeded in getting through the swamp on 
the left and opening a fire on the right and rear of 
the enemy's battery. Parke had also nearly sue- 


ceeded in turning the position on the other side. A chap. xiv. 
simultaneous assault by Foster in front and Reno 
against the rebel right drove the enemy from their w. e. 
guns in precipitate confusion. It was a victory of ^^^^u 
persistent and stubborn energy rather than severe ^°™f 's"'" 
fighting. The total loss on the Union side was five o" conted^ 
officers and thirty-two men kiUed and ten officers "of E^pre-'* 
and two hundred and four men wounded. The ^^VrT"^' 
reported rebel loss was twenty-three kiUed and p.'ise." 
fifty-eight wounded. 

The battle at this point decided the fate of the 
island. The Union troops followed the retreating 
enemy to the northern end with such promptness 
and vigor that they had no time or opportunity for 
further resistance. The garrisons abandoned the 
forts and joined the flying column. Having no 
transports at hand in which to escape, and finding 
himself surrounded, Colonel Shaw, the rebel com- 
mander, sent a flag of truce to make a complete 
sm-render. "The fruits of the day's fight," says 
Foster's report, " were the whole island of Roanoke RfporTto 
with its five forts, thirty-two guns, 3000 stands of on^craduct 
arms, and 2700 prisoners." Ex-Grovernor Henry nof.Iism! 
A. Wise, of Virginia, upon whom, as district com- 
mander, the responsibility of this Confederate 
disaster fell most heavily at the time, made the 
following striking summary of the strategic im- 
portance of the capture of Roanoke Island. "It 
unlocked two sounds (Albemarle and Currituck), 
eight rivers (the North, "West, Pasquotank, Perqui- 
mans, Little, Chowan, Roanoke, and Alligator), 
four canals (the Albemarle and Chesapeake, Dismal 
Swamp, Northwest, and Suffolk), and two railroads 
(the Petersburg and Norfolk, and the Seaboard and 


Chap. XIV. Eoanoke). It guarded more than four-fiftlis of all 
Norfolk's supplies of corn, pork, and forage, and it 
cut the command of General Huger off from all of 
its most efficient transportation. It endangers the 
subsistence of his whole army, threatens the navy- 
yard at Gosport, and to cut off Norfolk from Eich- 
mond, and both from railroad communication with 
ves^igating the South. It lodgcs the enemy in a safe harbor 
of cSf*ed-'^ from the storms of Hatteras, gives them a rendez- 
^ofRepra^^ vous, and large, rich range of supplies, and the 
w. E. ■ command of the seaboard from Oregon Inlet to 

Vol. IX., ^ .^ ° 

p- 188. Cape Henry." 

However interesting might be the detailed nar- 
rative, it would require more pages than can be 
devoted to it to describe how the natural fruits of 
the capture of Eoanoke Island were in part gath- 
ered by successive expeditions within the North 
Carolina sounds during the remainder of the year 
1862. They can only be mentioned here in the 
briefest possible summary. The rebel fleet which 
retreated was followed by a detachment of Golds- 
borough's ships, under Commander Eowan, into 
Pasquotank Eiver towards Elizabeth City, where, 
on February 10, he completely annihilated it, cap- 
Goidsbor- turing one steamer, burning and destroying five 
Eeporis othcrs, and occupying Elizabeth City and other 
ana 20,' 1862. points. Carrying out the original instructions, 
another expedition, naval and military, sailed from 
Eoanoke Island against the town of New Berne on 
the Neuse Eiver, one of the southern affluents 
^^on.' of Pamlico Sound, where a combined attack on 
isll^w^E. the 14th of March effected a quick reduction of 
pp? 197-199. the very considerable defenses at that place. " The 
fruits of the victory at New Berne," reports General 


Foster, " were the richest town in North CaroUna, chap. xiv. 
one steamer, two hundred prisoners, forty-six 
heavy guns, eighteen field-pieces, several hundred 
stands of arms, the command of the railroad, the 
cutting off from supplies of the garrison of Fort 
Macon, with the prospective capture of that work, EepSo 
and the facilities of the railroad for our advance S" craduet 
on Groldsboro'." A small expedition also went Nov. 2,1865! 
(March 20, 21) up the Pamlico River, where the Eepon, ' 

^ T ' r ) March 23, 

town of Washington was occupied. More impor- i^m.^ J^^. 
tant than either of the foregoing was the ex- p- ^''''■ 
pedition under command of Brigadier-Greneral 
Parke against Fort Macon: guarding the harbor 
of Beaufort, North Carolina, and its successful Repon, 
investment, siege, and capture on the 26th of ^"^w^e.^*^' 
April — one of those brilhant engineering feats pp?28i-284. 
which throughout the war attested the high skill 
and accomplishments of the educated officers of the 
regular army. In addition to these principal events 
there occurred a score or more of small expeditions, 
reconnaissances, and skirmishes, which there is not 
room even to enumerate. 

It will thus be seen that the success of the parent 
expedition, led by Burnside against Roanoke Island, 
quickly resulted in a secondary group of local vic- 
tories which gave the Union forces command of 
the entire interior coasts of North Carolina. Of 
the several designs mentioned in McClellan's orig- 
inal instructions as the objects of the Burnside 
expedition, all were accomplished save the single 
one of an advance from New Berne to Groldsboro' 
to seize one of the important Southern railroads. 
This had necessarily to await the preliminary work 
to which the army and navy next devoted them- 


Chap. XIV. selves, and required also an increase of force to 
hold the captured places and guard communica- 
tions. Before the needful reenforcements were 
accumulated the Groldsboro' expedition was unfor- 
tunately rendered impossible by an unexpected 
change in the tide of Union victories. Failure and 
disaster fell upon McCleUan's army in Virginia to 
such a degree that Burnside, with all the troops he 
could bring with him, was recalled, early in July, 
from North Carolina to the James River. Never- 
theless, the points already gained in Albemarle and 
Pamlico sounds were generally held, and through 
the remainder of the war their occupation contrib- 
uted essentially, in various ways, to the further 
advance of the Union arms. 

Simultaneously with the successes in North 
Carolina, other important victories attended the 
military and naval operations along the Atlantic 
coast. The hold which had been gained at Port 
Eoyal, South Carolina, and the adjacent sea-islands 
was greatly extended and strengthened, notably in 
^1862."' the siege and capture of Fort Pulaski, at the mouth 
of the Savannah Eiver. Pulaski, like Macon, was 
one of the old Government forts built for coast 
protection, which during the secession period were 
first seized and occupied by State troops, and after- 
wards turned over to the control and use of the 
Confederate authorities. Fort Pulaski stood in a 
strong position on Cockspur Island, Georgia, com- 
manding both channels of the Savannah River. 
It was a brick work with walls seven and a half 
feet thick and twenty-five feet high, with one tier 
of guns in casemate and one en barlette. The 
island it stood on was wholly a marsh, one mile 


■FEDERATE ^^ 5^^^^^^ 


RUARY 8, 1862 DRA"\\ ^ 
BY LIEUT. W. S. AJvDRL\\ ^, 
OF THE 9TH ^ 1 PT H 


long and lialf a mile wide. The neighboring chap.xiv. 
islands were also mere marshes. The possibility 
of reducing the fort began to be studied soon after 
Port Eoyal was captured, and the work formally 
commenced about the beginning of February. The isea. 
ground to operate upon was described as "a soft 
unctuous mud, free of grit or sand, and incapa- 
able of supporting a heavy weight. Even in the 
most elevated places the partially dry crust is but 
three or four inches in depth, the substratum being 
a semi-fluid mud, which is agitated like jelly by 
the falling of even small bodies upon it, like the 
jumping of men or ramming of earth. A pole or 
an oar can be forced into it with ease to the depth 
of twelve or fifteen feet. In most places the resist- 
ance diminishes with increase of penetration. Men 
walking over it are partially sustained by the roots 
of reeds and grass, and sink in only five or six 
inches. When this top support gives way they go ^iport?' 
down from two to two and a half feet, and in some isesf w.'e. 

Vol. VI 

places much farther." The problem was to trans- p.m. " 
port the heavy material and guns about a mile, and 
establish batteries in such a locality, working with- 
out noise in the darkness of night. It was necessary 
first to construct a causeway, resting on fascines 
and brushwood in positions within range of the 
effective fire of the fort. " No one," says the report, 
" except an eye-witness, can form any but a faint 
conception of the herculean labor by which mortars 
of eight and a half tons weight and columbiads 
but a trifle lighter were moved in the dead of night 
over a narrow causeway bordered by swamps on 
either side, and liable at any moment to be over- 
turned and buried in the mud beyond reach. . . 


CHAP. XIV. Two hundred and fifty men were barely sufficient 
to move a single piece on sling carts. The men 
were not allowed to speak above a whisper, and 
were guided by the notes of a whistle." Yet the 
task was pursued with such industry that on the 
9th of April eleven batteries, comprising thirty-six 
guns, were ready to open fire at distances varying 
from 1650 to 3400 yards, and the fort was sum- 
moned to surrender at sunrise on the morning of 
1862. April 10. A 'refusal having been received, the 
bombardment was begun, the fort making a vigor- 
ous reply. The surprising and hitherto unknown 
effectiveness of rifled guns and modern projectiles 
was quickly proved. By two o'clock of the second 
day's bombardment the fort was so far damaged 
by a large breach and the dismounting of eleven 
Giiimore ^^ ^^^ guus as to compcl its Surrender, which took 
octM*;' place that afternoon, April 11, 1862. The arma- 
"' ment of the fort was forty-eight guns; its garrison 
^''' 169. ^^^ of 385 men were made prisoners. General Quincy 
A. GUknore conducted the siege operations, Greneral 
David Hunter being at that time in command of 
the Department of the South. 

It will be remembered that when Port Royal was 
captured in the previous autumn, it was the inten- 
tion and expectation of the Government that the 
forces engaged in that enterprise should proceed 
at once in an attempt to repossess and occupy 
the whole Florida coast. For reasons heretofore 
mentioned, that project could not then be imme- 
diately carried out. The design, however, was not 
abandoned, and with the opening of the year 
1862 preparations were made to renew the under- 
takiag. Accordingly, an expedition sailed from 


Port Royal during tlie month of March, consist- chap. xiv. 
ing of nineteen ships-of-war, under Flag-officer 
Samuel F. Du Pont, and a few transports, carry- 
ing a brigade of volunteers, under Gleneral H. Q-. 
Wright, which, within a few days, and without 
serious resistance, occupied, and thereafter securely 
held, the whole remaining Atlantic coast southward, isea. 
including Brunswick, Fort Clinch, Fernandina, 
Cumberland Island and Sound, Amelia Sound, 
Jacksonville, and St. Augustine. Nor did the tri- 
umphs of the navy end here. While this reduction 
and repossession of the Atlantic coast was going 
on, another movement, more formidable in its prep- 
aration and more brilliant in its successes, was in 


farragut's victory 

CHAP XV. TJI VENTS bring us to the relation of the capture 
Vj of New Orleans, the commercial metropolis of 
the South, by a fleet under command of Flag-officer 
David Gr. Farragut. The expedition took shape very 
gradually ; first, through information derived from 
the blockade ; second, through the practical experi- 
ence gained at the bombardment of the Hatteras 
forts in August, and those at Port Royal in October, 
of the year 1861. In these engagements the United 
States vessels of w&v demonstrated such a relative 
strength against shore batteries as to inspire con- 
fidence in yet more hazardous attempts of the same 
character. It vras there proved that even wooden 
ships might be relied on to pass ordinary fortifica- 
tions under fire with many chances of success ; and 
upon this main idea the expedition against New 
Orleans was organized. It found its inspiration 
largely in the nautical skill and experience of the 
Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Captain Gr. V. Fox, 
who, by many years of service both in the navy and 
in the merchant coasting trade, had acquired a fund 
of practical knowledge which gave him a solidity 
of judgment and spirit of enterprise rarely found in 
a subordinate department official. 


faeeagut's victoey 253 

The first indirect steps grew out of the necessities chap. xv. 
of the Grulf blockade. Ship Island, lying in the 
Gulf, off the coast of the State of Mississippi, mid- 
way between New Orleans and Mobile, was many 
years since selected as a point on which to erect a 
Federal fort, which at the beginning of the rebellion 
had risen but little above its foundations. The 
island was taken possession of by the rebels, but 
found to be useless, with their limited resources, 
and abandoned. Thereupon the Union forces occu- 
pied it in September, and it soon became, because 
of its central position, the principal naval station in 
the Gulf. Several naval and military enterprises 
in that quarter were being suggested and studied 
during the autumn of 1861. Before it was deter- 
mined whether the attack should be directed against 
the Texas coast, or New Orleans, or Mobile Bay, a 
preliminary force of 2500 troops, under command 
of General Benjamin F. Butler, was organized to be 
sent to Ship Island, with a view of taking part in 
an expedition against such of these points as might 
be selected. New Orleans being the most impor- 
tant prize, both military and political, naturally be- 
came the principal objective as information about 
the feasibihty of its capture was collected. The 
turning-point in its selection seems to have been 
the arrival at Washington early in November of 
Commander David D. Porter from several months' 
blockading duty off the mouths of the Mississippi, 
bringing the latest information gleaned from spies 
and contrabands concerning the river and city de- 
fenses. The designs of the Navy Department were 
confidentially laid before him, and his professional "G^aiaxy" 

„ /l , . 1 J Nov., 1871, 

opinion ot the enterprise was asked. p- e''- 



Chap. XV. 

Welles, in 

" Galaxy," 

Nov., 1871, 

p. 678. 


New Orleans lies on tlie Mississippi River, about 
one hundred miles above its mouths ; and the chief 
obstacles the fleet would have to encounter in its 
ascent were Forts St. Phihp and Jackson, situated 
nearly opposite each other at a bend of the river, 
seventy-five miles below the city. They were for- 
midable forts of masonry, of scientific construc- 
tion, originally built by the Government ; and, hke 
so many others, had been seized by the State au- 
thorities in the early movements of secession, and 
turned over to the use of the Confederates. To- 
gether they had an armament of over 100 guns, 
and garrisons of 600 or 700 men each. Fort Jack- 
son lay on the right bank of the stream; St. 
Philip on the left bank half a mile above it. 
"The original proposition of the Navy Depart- 
ment," says ex-Secretary Welles, "was to run past 
the forts and capture the city, when, the fleet being 
above and communication cut off, the lower de- 
fenses must fall." Commander Porter concurred in 
the desirability and probable success of the naval 
expedition which the department suggested and 
outlined, but strongly advised the addition of a 
powerful mortar flotilla, which should reduce these 
formidable forts by a bombardment before the 
fleet essayed to pass them, so as to leave no enemy 
or serious obstruction in the rear ; and his proposal 
was adopted. 

The formal beginning of the enterprise dates 
from the 15th of November. On the evening of 
that day there met at the residence of General Mc- 
Clellan a council composed of President Lincoln, 
Mr. Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Assistant-Sec- 
retary Fox, Commander Porter, and McClellan 

faebagut's victory 


Mmself, wliom the President had recently made 
general-in-cMef of all the armies. Here the .pro- 
posed expedition against New Orleans was for the 
first time mentioned to the general ; with the other 
members of the council it was already a familiar 
topic. Hitherto, the army plans against New Or- 
leans contemplated reaching it with a column de- 
scending the Mississippi from Cairo, and, premising 
that it would require an army of 50,000 to attack 
it from the Grulf, McClellan objected that he could 
not detach that number of troops from other under- 
takings. Mr. Welles replied that he expected the 
navy to capture the city, and that he only asked a 
contingent of 10,000 to hold it ; one-fourth of this 
number was already destined for Ship Island. Mc- 
Clellan promised the required forces; the project 
was once more fully discussed and definitely or- 
dered by the President ; and three days thereafter 
Porter was instructed to proceed to New York and 
organize his mortar flotilla, which he was to com- 
mand in person. 

The enterprise once agreed upon, there came the 
momentous and perplexing question, who should 
command and lead an expedition of this magni- 
tude and importance ? By happy fortune the choice 
of the department fell upon Captain David G. Far- 
ragut, sixty years of age, forty-eight years of which 
had been spent in naval service, he having become 
a midshipman when he was eleven years old. He 
was made lieutenant at twenty-four, commander at 
forty, and captain at fifty-four. But in all this time 
his talents, experience, and service had largely 
outrun his opportunities for distinction. Fame 
approached her favorite with unusual tardiness, 

Chap. XV. 


to Porter, 

Nov. 18, 


" Galaxy," 

Nov., 1871, 

p. 682. 



Chap. XV. 

" Life of 

D. G. 


p. 204. 

even after the beginning of civil war. Thougli 
born in Tennessee, and twice allied by marriage 
with. Virginia families, his heart was untouched by 
disloyalty. He was residing at Norfolk, Virginia, 
when the frenzy of secession seized the Old Domin- 
ion. " On the morning," writes his son, " when it was 
announced that Virginia had passed the ordinance 
of secession (April 18th), Farragut went as usual to 
the rendezvous previously mentioned, and was soon 
aware by the reserved manner and long faces of those 
about him that affairs had reached a climax. He 
expressed himself freely as not satisfied with the 
action of the Convention, and believing that Presi- 
dent Lincoln was fuUy justified in calling for troops 
after the seizure of the forts and arsenals. He was 
impatiently informed that a person of his sentiments 
' could not live in Norfolk,' to which he calmly re- 
plied, ' Well, then, I can live somewhere else.' Ee- 
turning home immediately, with the feeling that 
the time for prompt action had arrived, he an- 
nounced to his wife his intention of 'sticking to 
the flag,' and said to her, ' This act of mine may 
cause years of separation from your family; so 
you must decide quickly whether you wiU go North 
or remain here.' It is needless to say that her 
decision was as prompt as his own, to go with her 

He left the city by the evening steamer with his 
family, arriving in Baltimore the next day just after 
the mob had assaulted the Sixth Massachusetts. 
Eailroad connection with the North was akeady 
broken, but he was lucky enough to secure passage 
to Philadelphia on a canal-boat, whence he pro- 
ceeded to New York and domiciled his famUy in a 

faekagut's victory 257 

quiet village on the Hudson. The Q-overnment chap.xv. 
placed him at very necessary and useful but not 
prominent sei"vice ; and for nine months, during all 
the first heat and tumult of the rebellion, he re- 
mained comparatively unnoticed. But he lost noth- 
ing by biding his time; the department had not 
overlooked him, and it now entrusted him with a 
task, the successful performance of which within 
three months brought him immediate and world- 
wide renown. About a month after Porter went to 
New York to prepare his mortar flotilla, Captain 
Farragut was called to Washington and confiden- 
tially informed of the duty he was expected to un- 
dertake. In return, Mr. Welles says, " he gave his 
unqualified approval of the original plan, adopted 
it with enthusiasm, said it was the true way to 
get to New Orleans, and offered to run by the forts 
with even a less number of vessels than we were 
preparing for him, provided that number could • 
not be supplied. . . While he would not have 
advised the mortar flotilla, it might be of greater 
benefit than he anticipated, might be more efficient 
than he expected, and he willingly adopted it as a 
part of his command, though he apprehended it 
would be likely to warn the enemy of our inten- 
tions. He expected, however, to pass the forts and 
restore New Orleans to the Grovernment, or never 
return. He might not come back, he said, but the '^aSy?' 
city would be ours." Something of this spirit and ^p^'ess"' 
confidence appear in the brief note to his family, 
under date of December 21, 1861, announcing his 
great opportunity: " Keep your lips closed and burn 
my letters ; for perfect silence is to be observed — 
the first injunction of the Secretary. I am to have 
Vol. v.— 17 



Chap. XV. 

" Life of 

D. G. 

p. 208. 

Welles to 


Jan. 20, 



of the 

of the 


a flag in the Grulf, and the rest depends upon myself. 
Keep calm and silent ; I shall sail in three weeks." 

On the ninth of January Farragut was appointed 
to the command of the Western Grulf Blockading 
Squadi-on; on the twentieth he received his con- 
fidential instructions to attempt the capture of the 
city of New Orleans. He sailed from Hampton 
Roads on the third of February in the steam sloop 
Hartford, a screw ship of the second class, 1900 
tons burthen, capable, under combined sail and 
steam power, of a speed of eleven knots, and carry- 
ing a battery of twenty-five guns — a swift, strong 
ship of beautiful proportions and with perfect ap- 
pointments, realizing the sailor's highest ideal of 
grace in outline, celerity in motion, and efSciency 
in combat. Farragut made the Hartford his fiag- 
ship ; and at a time when the traditional glories of 
wooden ships began to vanish before the encroach- 
ments of iron armor, the admiration and confidence 
he bestowed on his vessel lends a tinge of romance 
to the achievements by which he carried her fame 
into history. The reader may be spared the period 
of vexatious delay and anxious preparation ; it is 
enough to say Farragut acted on his maxim, " the 
rest depends upon myself." With his half -century's 
sea experience, his critical inspection neglected no 
detail of hull, spar, or rigging, omitted no essential 
instruction to each commander and crew of his 
fleet. If space permitted it would be a pleasure to 
record the qualities of his vessels, and, high above 
these, the skill and devotion of the commanders 
who sailed under him. They caught his zeal ; they 
shared his courage. One impulse of confidence, 
one resolution of success, possessed them all. There 

faeeagut's victoey 


have probably been few instances where the will 
and the power of the fleet were so thoroughly 
centered in the flag. 

By the middle of April the expedition was before 
the forts below New Orleans, Farragut with seven- 
teen men-of-war and 177 guns ; Porter with a mor- 
tar flotilla of nineteen schooners and six armed 
steamships for guard and towing service ; General 
Butler with the army contingent of six thousand 
men, the remainder being yet detained at Ship 
Island for want of transports. The rebel defenses 
were of threefold character. First, Forts Jackson 
and St. Philip with about 115 guns, foui'teen of 
them in casemate ; second, a river barrier, one and 
one-half miles below the forts, consisting of log- 
rafts and dismasted schooners, anchored at 
intervals and connected by strong chains; third, 
an improvised fleet of sixteen rebel gunboats, 
several of them armed with iron prows, and 
one of them (the Manassas) an iron-plated ram. 
StiU another vessel of formidable construction, also 
designed for iron plating, but in default of which 
her sloping sides were covered with raUroad iron, 
remained unfinished ; she was brought down and 
anchored haK a mile above Fort St. Philip, thus 
adding a stationary battery of sixteen guns to the 
strength of the upper fort. Of the various land 
defenses nearer the city, and breastworks and 
rifle-pits to guard against inland approaches and 
through bayous, it is needless to make mention; 
the course and consequences of the attack rendered 
them of no avail. One additional and by no means 
insignificant device of protection had been ingeni- 
ously prepared by the enemy. Long flat-boats 

Chap. XV. 


to Stanton, 

April 13, 

1862. W. R. 

Vol. VI.. 

p. 708. 


" LUe of 


D. G. 

p. 216. 



Chap. XV. 



May 6, 1862, 

and Porter, 


April 30, 


were filled with the resinous and highly inflammable 
pine knots of the South, and thus converted into 
fire-rafts to be set ablaze and adrift at the oppor- 
tune moment, to carry terror and destruction into 
the midst of the ascending fleet. 

On the 18th of April Porter's flotilla of nineteen 
schooners, carrying two mortars each, were anch- 
ored from 2500 to 4000 yards below the forts, where 
they began a terrific bombardment, firing on the 
first day over 1400 shells. Nearly all the bombs 
were directed at Fort Jackson, the nearest and 
largest work ; and, notwithstanding a certain want 
of accuracy, the immense number of missiles created 
fearful destruction, burning the wooden structures 
and dismounting barbette guns. That first night, 
while the fire was raging within and about it, Fort 
Jackson was well-nigh helpless. But its condition 
was not known in the Union fleet, and advantage 
could not be taken of the panic. For five days 
longer Porter continued his furious bombardment, 
greatly increasing mere exterior damage ; but, as 
the garrison was kept in the casemates, the effec- 
tiveness of the work was not thereby materially 
reduced. On the third day Porter began to lose 
confidence in mortars, and on the fifth day Farra- 
gut decided to try his ships. Two of the gunboats 
were sent on the night of the twentieth to cut 
away the barrier of hulks and rafts stretched across 
the river, and succeeded in making an opening 
sufficient to enable vessels to pass through. At 
two o'clock on the morning of April 24 Farragut 
gave the signal to advance, Porter at the same time 
increasing his bombardment to its utmost rapidity. 
The fleet was organized for the attack in two sec- 

faeeagut's victoky 


tions ; the " column of the red " to proceed first and, chap. xv. 
following the east bank, to engage Fort St. Philip ; 
this division, consisting of eight ships with sixty- 
seven guns, was commanded by Captain Theodoras 
Bailey and led by the gunboat Cayuga. The 
" column of the blue " was to follow, keeping to the 
west bank, and attack the stronger works of Fort 
Jackson; this division, consisting of nine ships 
with .eighty-seven guns, was commanded by Farra- 
gut himself and led by his flag-ship the Hartford} 

And now there ensued a naval battle which, after 
the opening movements, it is simply impossible 
to describe. As the divisions passed through the 
barrier, the forts opened their cannonade, to which, 
until near approach, the ships' guns were not in 
position to make reply. Once abreast the works, 
the vessels successively slowed their speed to dis- 
charge broadsides of grape and canister, quickly 
clearing the parapets ; the rebel gunners, however, 
pluckiLy returning to their guns as chance per- 
mitted. The fire of St. Philip, upon which Porter 
had exercised only a single mortar, dismounting 
but a single gun, was especially hot in these inter- 
missions of defense. It was a quiet April night, 
illumined only by starlight and the thin crescent 

iThe following vessels com- 
posed the divisions. 

Column of the Eed. — Cayuga, 
flag gunboat, Lieut.-Com. Har- 
rison, witli Capt. Bailey on board ; 
Pensacola, Capt. H. W. Morris; 
Mississippi, Com. M. Smitli; 
Oneida, Com. 8. P. Lee ; Varuna, 
Com. C. 8. Boggs; Katahdin, 
Lieut.-Com. G. H. Preble; Ki- 
neo, Lieut.-Com. Eansom ; Wissa- 
hickon, Lieut.-Com. A. N. 8mitli. 

Column op the Blue. — Sart- 
ford, Com. Waiuwright, with 
Flag-ofBeer Farragut on board; 
Brooklyn, Capt. T. T. Craven ; 
Richmond, Cora. 3. KlAeo.; Sciota, 
Lieut.-Com. Edward Donaldson ; 
Iroquois, Com. John De Camp ; 
Kennebeck, Lieut.-Com. John H. 
Eussell; Pinola, Lieut.-Com. P. 
Crosby; Itasca, Lieut.-Com, C. 
H. B. Caldwell ; Winona, Lieut.- 
Com. E. T. Nichols. 

of the 

of the 

1, 1862. 





May 6, 1862, 

CHAP. XV. of the waning moon ; but with the opening of 
battle the scene changed to alternations of fire and 
smoke, a quick succession of light and darkness — 
of dazzling blaze and impenetrable gloom. The 
divisions, starting in orderly line, became separated 
and mixed. "The fire became general," says Far- 
ragut's report, "the smoke dense, and we had 
nothing to aim at but the flash of their guns ; it 
was very difficult to distinguish friends from foes. 
... It was a kind of guerrilla ; they were fighting 
in aU directions." 

While the Hartford and her consorts were yet 
thundering their broadsides against Fort Jackson, 
the " Division of the Red," led by the Cayuga, had 
already run the gauntlet of the two forts ; but 
above their line of fire they encountered the Con- 
federate gunboat flotUla. The vessels composing 
it were not only inferior in strength and armament 
to the Union gunboats, but were under three dif- 
ferent and independent commanders, which dimin- 
ished their efficiency for defense. It was stiU dark 
when the Union gunboats dashed among them, 
and no coherent narrative of the encounter has 
been, or perhaps could be, preserved. On the 
Union side, it was hot pursuit ; on the rebel side, 
quick catastrophe. Bailey, the division commander, 
sententiously sums up the struggle : " Two large 
steamers now attempted to board, one on our star- 
board bow, the other astern, a third on our star- 
board beam. The eleven-inch Dahlgren being 
traiaed on this fellow, we fired at a range of thirty 
yards. The effect was very destructive; he im- 
mediately steered in shore, ran aground, and burnt 
himself up. The Parrot gun on the forecastle 

faeragut's viotoky 




April '25, 


drove off one on the bow, while we prepared to chap. xv. 
repeal boarders, so close was our remaining enemy. 
About this time Boggs [of the Vcfnina] and Leo' [of 
the Oneida] came dashing in, and made a finish 
of the rebel boats — eleven in all." But the Ndctory 
also brought its injuries and losses. The ships 
were all more or less riddled by the small shot from 
the forts ; and the Vaniiia, having in her eagerness 
run ahead of her companions, was set upon by two 
rebel gunboats which rammed her from opposite 
sides and sunk her."'^ 

1 " A flash revealed the ram 
Jl/((H((.v.««,v, gliding dowu our port 
side below our guns, and passing 
too eloso and swiftly, aided by 
stoani and the ourreut, to enable 
us to bring our heavy guns to 
beai- on her. Next oame a gun- 
boat quite near, and, passing from 
the Fort Jaoksou to Fort St. 
Philip side across our bow, rim 
into it with a full head of steam, 
and out it down with a loud crash 
on its starboard quarter. Clear 
of our guns in a moment, it drifted 
down sta'eam in tho darkness. We 
now slowed down and afterwai'ds 
used the steam as necessary to 
get or keep position in lighting 
the gunboats, firing right and 
left into them as wo oould asoer- 
tftiu (from other indications than 
black suuike, on accoimt of the 
Varinia) that we were not firing 
into one of our steamers, forbore 
to tire into tJiose steamers that 
ftppeivred to be river transport*, 
and ceased firing into others when 
tliey made no return. In this 
manner we fired into and passed 
several i-ebel boats on the right 
bank, lea^■^ng it for those who 
came after to pick up the prizes," 
— Lee, Keport, April 26, IStC 

2 " We had passed nearly 
through the fleet of the enemy's 
gunboats when we discovered 
one of them, then engaging the 
Oiioida, heading for us, appar- 
ently with the intention of run- 
ning us down. Owing to the 
small amount of steam we then 
had (seventeen pounds) he soon 
began to oome up with us, and 
finally struck us twice — once 
abreast the mainmast and again 
abreast the smoke-staok. He did 
not escape the second time with- 
out receiving the contents of the 
starboai-d broadside, which, as 
the captain afterwaa-ds told me, 
swept his decks of neai'ly every 
li\"ing object. Before striking us 
he fired his f orwai'd gun — a rifled 
thirty-two pounder — which raked 
o\u" decks, killing three men and 
wounding several. Up to this 
time we had passed the forts and 
gimiboats without having a single 
man injured, although the ship 
had been struck several times. 
The steamer that first struck us, 
I have since learned, was the 
Crorernor Monro, iron-clad on the 
bow, and commanded hy Bever- 
ly Kennon, formerly a lieutenant 
in the United States ser\-ioe. 


CHAP. XV. The " Division of the Blue," following under Far- 
ragut, was not without its dangers and achieve- 
ments. Three of the rear gunboats failed to pass 
the forts at all and returned, one of them with ma- 
chinery disabled, to Porter's flotiUa below. One of 
the large ships, the Brooklyn, became seriously- 
entangled with the barrier of hulks and rafts ; then 
she was "feebly butted" by the ram Manassas; 
afterwards, while yet under the fire of Fort Jackson, 
she was attacked by a large rebel steamer; but 
Captain T. T. Craven in his report says : " Our port 
broadside, at the short distance of only fifty or sixty 
yards, completely finished him, setting him on fire 
almost instantaneously." Perhaps the most exciting 
incident of the passage happened to the Hartford. 
The enemy had on several occasions set adrift and 
sent down fire-rafts; but the efficient fii'e brigade, 
with boats, grapnels, and other appliances specially 
organized to meet them, had hitherto succeeded in 
towing them out of the way, to points where they 
would be harmless. It happened as the Hartford 
was passing Fort St. Philip, one of these fixe-rafts 
came down, not merely drifting in the current but 
pushed and directed by a rebel tug-boat. The 
Hartford, swerving aside to avoid the encounter, 
ran agi'ound; and the tug, perceiving the advan- 
tage, boldly pushed the blazing raft against the flag- 

Hardly had we recovered from the vessel afloat, and she was 

the shock of these two blows run ashore, and every effort made 

before we were struck on the to save the wounded and crew, 

port quarter by a vessel, the which I am happy to say was 

Stonewall Jackson, constructed accomplished, with the friendly 

for this purpose. We received aid of the boats of the vessels 

so much injury from this blow, then up with us." — Swasey, Ex- 

and we made so much water, ecutive Officer, Report, April 29, 

that it was impossible to keep 1862. 

faekagut's victory 265 

ship. In an instant the flames enveloped the whole chap. xv. 
ship's side and flashed aloft into the rigging. It 
"was a critical and painful moment to Farragut: 
" My God ! " he exclaimed, " is it to end in this 
way ? " But caution and good discipline triumphed. 
Only the dry paint was as yet ablaze, and a weU- 
directed stream of water from the fire apparatus 
subdued the mounting flame. Most opportunely 
too the ship's engines were able to back her from 
her great peril, and she continued up the river 
silencing the guns of Fort St. Phihp as she passed. 
The Confederates evidently expected much from 
the ram Manassas, of their flotilla, described as a 
converted tug-boat, covered with half-inch iron 
plating, carrying a thirty-two-pounder gun in her 
bow. No accurate description of her movements is 
reported, and during the fight she mysteriously 
appeared and disappeared in the darkness among 
the ships, though her efforts to inflict damage 
proved ineffectual. As the day dawned she was dis- 
covered following the vessels up the river, and Com- 
mander Melancton Smith, with the large side-wheel 
steamer Mississippi, turned back and attacked and 
captured her, though he was unable to take her in 
tow or spare a crew to man her. " I directed her to 
be set on fire," reports Commander Smith, "and 
then so riddled her with shot that she was dislodged 
from the bank and drifted below the forts, where she l^ort, 
blew up and sank." This incident appears to have ^Ym^'^' 
closed the engagement. The vessels passed up the 
river and came temporarily to anchor at quarantine 
station, six miles above the forts. The combat had 
lasted about one and a half hours ; the rebel flotilla, 
with the exception of three steamers, was destroyed ; 



Chap. XV. 



April 25, 


May 22, 
1862. W. R. 
Vol. VI., 
p. 613. 



May 6, 1862. 


to Lovell, 

April 2S, 

1862. W. E. 

Vol. VI., 

p. 883. 

the Union loss was, the Varuna, sunk, considerable 
miscellaneous damage to other ships, and a total of 
twenty-four killed and eighty-six wounded. A little 
more than six weeks from the day when the great 
naval battle between the Merrimac and Monitor, in 
Hampton Eoads, filled the world with the new fame 
of ironclads, Farragut's victory at New Orleans 
revived the prestige of wooden ships when handled 
with courage and skill. 

The Union fleet made but a short halt at quar- 
antine, Farragut pushed on over the seventy-five 
miles of distance which lay between him and the 
main object and prize of his expedition. By ten 
o'clock of April 25, he was at the Chalmette bat- 
teries, three miles below the city. In ten minutes 
the ships had silenced the works ; the fleet moved 
cautiously round the bend of the river, and New 
Orleans lay helpless under the Union guns. News 
of the hostile approach put its population of 150,000 
souls into a dangerous ferment from opposing pas- 
sions of rage and fear. With only three thousand 
Confederate troops, with but eighteen days' provi- 
sions for the people, with the certainty of siege and 
starvation if he remained, the Confederate general, 
Mansfield Lovell, resolved to evacuate the place 
and all its dependencies. To this end he hastily 
removed such arms and supplies as he coidd and 
ordered the destruction of the remaining Confederate 
war material and property. Cotton, coal, timber, 
steamboats, and the unfinished ironclad Mississippi 
were burned. " The destruction of property was 
awful," says Farragut. If the necessities of war 
palliate such sacrifice, the same excuse cannot jus- 
tify the order of the Richmond authorities and the 


fleeing G-overnor's proclamation to the planters of chap. xv. 
that exposed interior, to burn their cotton, in obe- 
dience to which an infatuated zeal wrought the 
destruction of millions of private property, serving 
no end except to impoverish the community. 

At noon of the 25th Farragut sent Captain Bailey, 
who commanded the " Division of the Eed," to con- 
fer with the Mayor of New Orleans. It was an im- 
prudent exposure of his most valuable ofificer ; for, 
as Bailey with a single companion walked from the 
landing to the City HaU, they were followed by a 
noisy and insulting street rabble, cheering for Jef- 
ferson Davis and uttering wild threats of violence; 
the resolute and self-possessed bearing of the two 
officers alone saved them. Bailey demanded of 
Mayor John T. Monroe that he should surrender 
the city and raise the Union flag. The Mayor an- 
swered, that he had no military authority, and called 
in General Lovell who, on his part, refused to sur- 
render, but announced that he would evacuate the 
city, " and then leave the civil authorities to act as 
they might deem proper." Bailey returned and re- 
ported these equivocal answers. On the following 
day, April 26, Farragut by letter again demanded 
of the Mayor " the unqualified surrender of the 
city," the lowering of all hostile flags, " and that 
the emblem of sovereignty of the United States be 
hoisted over the City Hall, Mint, and Custom-House to Monrol, 
by meridian this day." To this the Mayor replied 1862. 
on the same afternoon with a long letter of mixed 
grandiloquence and contumacy, that " General 
Lovell has evacuated it [the city] with his troops 
and restored back to me the administration of its 
government " ; that " the city is without means of 



Chap. XV. 

Monroe to 


April 26, 


defense " ; that " to surrender sucli a place were an 
idle and unmeaning ceremony" ; and that the people 
of New Orleans " yield simply that obedience which 
the conqueror is enabled to extort from the con- 
quered." This last statement the Mayor prefaced 
by the declaration, " The obligations which I shall 
assume in their name shall be religiously complied 

Though connected with other phrases intended to 
tickle the ears of the rebel populace with a sound of 
refusal, this language was in fact a formal and 
technical surrender of the city. Accordingly on the 
morning of Sunday, April 27, Farragut ordered 
Captain Henry W. Morris of the Pensacola, an- 
chored near the Mint, to hoist the Union flag over 
that building, which was done. Instead of leaving 
a file of marines to guard it. Captain Morris thought 
to protect the flag by loading a howitzer in the 
main-top of his ship with grape, pointing it at the 
flag-staff, with orders to the lookout to fire upon 
any one who might approach to molest it. It being 
Sunday, the ship's crew were assembled for prayers 
at eleven o'clock, and while the service was going 
on, the lookout saw four men suddenly appear at 
the flag-staff, cut the halyards, and rush away with 
their booty. He fired the howitzer, but without ef- 
fect ; the desperadoes descended from the building 
and joined the rabble below, where the flag was 
dragged through the streets, publicly insulted, and 
torn into shreds. Law and honor required the 
Mayor promptly to punish these offenders, in order 
to redeem his " religious " pledge for the city, of the 
day before, to yield obedience to the captor. The 
Mayor did nothing of the kind. On the contrary 

fabeagut's victory 269 

the leading newspaper publislied the names of the chap. xv. 
perpetrators with commendations, while the popu- 
lace gloated over the act of defiance. Punishment 
nevertheless came. William B. Mumford, the ring- 
leader, who cut loose the flag, was afterwards, under 
Greneral Butler's command of the city, tried, and 
hung from a window of the same building for his 
grave military crime. Meanwhile further dilatory 
correspondence came from the Mayor and Common 
Council, and on AprU 28 Farragut sent a qualified 
threat that he would bombard the city, and an order 
to remove the women and children. The Mayor 
returned another whining and contumacious reply, 
sheltering his evasion and non-compliance under 
tricky phrases and appeals, apparently more de- 
signed to provoke than to avert bombardment and 
slaughter. His language assumed privileges of hos- 
tility, while claiming immunity as prisoners. The 
Mayor's purpose, in this persistent quibbling over 
the word " surrender," becomes intelligible when we 
read Jefferson Davis's dispatch to him of April 28 : 
" Tour answer to Commander Farragut leaves to 
you all the chances and rights of war. . . Main- to Monroe, 
tain firmly the position you took in your reply, and i862^"w^\. 
let us hope for a successful issue." Farragut, how- p. m." 
ever, kept his temper ; on the 29th he sent a strong 
guard of marines with howitzers formally to take 
down the rebel flags from the public buildings and 
raise those of the United States in their stead, with 
a new warning to the Mayor ; since which day they 
have floated inviolate. 

Our narrative must return to Forts Jackson and 
St. Philip. Though the Union fleet was both below 
and above them, they still remained in possession 


CHAP. XV. of the rebels, who, as well as they might, repaired the 
damage from the bombardment. After Farragut 
had passed the forts, Porter sent a demand for their 
surrender, but the Confederate commander refused. 
Porter's situation was not free from peril ; the rebel 
ironclad Louisiana still lay anchored above the 
forts, and her exact offensive strength, or rather, as 
it turned out, her weakness was not known. Had 
she been as effective as was supposed, she might 
have wrought great havoc among the mortar flotilla. 
Porter therefore ceased his fire and stationed his 
vessels for defensive action. 

Farragut's plan, announced in his general order 
of April 20, was that " the forts should be run ; and 
when a force is once above the forts to protect the 
troops, they should be landed at quarantine from 
the Grulf side by bringing them thisough the bayou, 
Farragut, ^^^ then our forccs should move up the river, 
^ofilv] mutually aiding each other as it can be done to ad- 
^fm2^' vantage." The attack thus consisted of three com- 
bined movements. First, Portei^'s bombardment; 
second, Farragut's dash past the forts ; third, the 
landing of Butler's troops. This third feature was 
now put in execution. Before proceeding up the 
river, Farragut sent back word that he would leave 
two gunboats at quarantine to protect the landing. 

It is estimated that the annual floods of the 
Mississippi River bring down to the Mexican Gulf 
an amount of sand and mud equal, for an average 
year, to a mass one square mUe in area and 268 
feet deep.^ By these annual deposits the river has 

1 " The amount of silt carried Survey under Humphreys and 
to the Mexican Gulf by the Mis- Abbot, is about l-1500th the 
sissippi, according to the Delta weight of the water, or l-2900th 


built for itself narrow banks, dikes, or levees, ex- chap.xv. 
tending thirty or forty miles into the ocean, so that 
the waters and marshes of the Gulf, on both sides, 
approach very near this inclosed river-bed. Farra- 
gut's fleet was no sooner well past the forts on the 
morning of the 24th than Bntler proceeded with 
his transports down the river, out through Pass a 
I'Outre, the easternmost mouth of the Mississippi, 
and around eastwardly to Sable Island, twelve miles 
in rear of Fort St. Philip. Here he trans-shipped 
three regiments to the gunboat Miami, of lighter 
draft, in which he was able to proceed to within 
six miles of the fort. He had also brought with 
him thirty small boats, into which he again trans- 
ferred the Twenty-sixth Massachusetts and por- 
tions of the Fourth Wisconsin and Twenty-first 
Indiana, who rowed their boats four and a half 
miles farther. "At the entrance of Manuel's Canal," 
says Butler's report, " a mile and a haK from the 
point of landing, rowing became impossible, as well 
from the narrowness of the canal as the strength of 
the current, which ran like a mill-race. Through 
. this the boats could only be impelled by dragging iev^n, 
them singly, with the men up to their waists in i862^"-vv.^e. 

Vol VI 

water." It required persevering effort and consid- p- 504. 
erable time to make this long circuit. They had 
started on the 24th; on the 26th they were at Sable 

its bulk ; equivalent for an average observations made by them, they 
year to 812,500,000,000,000 estimate the annual amount thus 
pounds, or a mass one square contributed to the Gulf to be 
mile in area and 241 feet deep. . . about 750,000,000 cubic feet 
"Besides the material held in — -which would cover a square 
suspension, as these authors ob- mile 27 feet deep; and this, added 
serve, the Mississippi pushes to the 241 feet above, makes the 
along into the Gulf large quanti- total 268 feet." — Dana, "Man- 
ties of earthy matter; and from ual of Geology," pp. 648, 649. 



Chap. XV. 

Gerdes to 


April 27, 


April 30, 


Island and, during the night of the 27th, 400 men 
were sent up to quarantine, where the gunboats 
WissaUckon and Kineo awaited them. Meanwhile, 
by a similar circuit, Porter had sent six schooners 
of his mortar fleet down out of the Southwest pass 
and round westwardly, through the Gulf and bay- 
ous, to the rear of Fort Jackson. As soon as But- 
ler could land more troops he threw a detachment 
across the river, thus holding both banks against 
retreat, supply, or reenforcement. 

The rebel garrisons of Forts Jackson and St. 
Philip, though having a complete respite from at- 
tack since the passage of the fleet, and though they 
had to a considerable extent repaired their damage, 
could entertain from the first little hope of succor 
or escape. The Union officers at quarantine, 
immediately after the action, permitted the seri- 
ously wounded of both forts to be placed on board 
the Confederate steamer McBea and sent to New 
Orleans under flag of truce. By this means the 
garrisons received news of the capture of New 
Orleans, the retirement of General LoveU's army, 
and the burning of the ironclad Mississippi. While 
they noted these diminishing chances, they could 
also see Butler's gunboats, transports, and launches 
working their way up the bay and bayous above 
them, and finally landing troops at quarantine. On 
the 26th Porter again summoned the forts to ca- 
pitulate, offering liberal terms and pointing out, 
that though they might hold out a Kttle longer, 
their surrender was necessarily a mere question of 
time. Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Higgins, com- 
manding, replied that he had as yet no official in- 
formation of the surrender of New Orleans and 

fakeagut's viotoey 273 

could not until then entertain the proposition. But chap. xv. 
while the rebel commanders were hesitating, the 
men composing the garrisons were forming their 
own conclusions and preparing to act on them. 
At midnight of April 27 there was a sudden mutiny 
in Fort Jackson ; the insurgents seized the guards, 
reversed the field-pieces commanding the gates, 
began spiking the guns, and fired upon officers who 
went to the parapet to control them. Simultane- R'^port.' 
ously, about half the garrison deserted the fort with mi'^^w^k. 
their arms and surrendered themselves to Butler's p.'ssi." 

This state of affairs left the commanders no 
alternative. On the forenoon of April 28 they 
sent a flag of truce to Porter, accepting his terms 
of capitulation, which were duly signed at an inter- 
view between the officers on the steamer Harriet 
Lane that afternoon. While the officers sat to- 
gether in the cabin an exciting incident took 
place. The Confederate note of acceptance stated ^POTter,*" 
that "We have no control over the vessels afloat"; i8m?"w.\. 
but it was taken for granted that the flags of p.'sm." 
truce flying from the Union ships and visible 
to all were a sufficient safeguard. Great was the 
consternation, therefore, when it was suddenly an- 
nounced that the Confederate ironclad Louisiana, 
hitherto anchored above Fort St. Philip, had been 
set on fire by her commander, abandoned and cut 
adrift, and was floating down towards the other 
ships. Porter writes that he said to the Confeder- 
ate officers : " This is sharp practice, but if you can 
stand the explosion when it comes, we can. We will 
go on and finish the capitulation." The Confed- MasazinZ" 
erate officers protested their innocence of the act, p^m 

Vol. v.— 18 



Chap. XV. and quietly remained. "As the wreck in descend- 
ing kept close into the Fort St. Philip shore," re- 
Eeportl' ports Confederate General J. K. Duncan, "the 
1861. w. k. chances were taken by the enemy without chang- 
p. 632." ing the position of his boats." Fortunately the 
Louisiana exploded while abreast Fort St. Philip, 
and before she had come near enough to cause 
damage to Porter's ships. 



THE way was now clear to New Orleans; and chap.xvi. 
as soon as Greneral Butler could get Ms trans- 
ports from the Grulf side round into the river 
again, he proceeded, after occupying the forts, as 
rapidly as possible up the river with his troops. 
On the 1st of May the naval forces under Farragut isea. 
turned over to him the formal possession of the 
city, and he continued in command of the De- 
partment of the Grulf until the following December. 
The withdrawal of General LoveU, and the aban- 
donment of Forts Pike and McComb at the en- 
trances to Lake Pontchartrain, left him with no 
serious campaign immediately on his hands; but 
the task of governing the city of New Orleans was 
one which put all his energy and shrewdness into 
requisition. The supply of provisions had been in- 
terrupted by the military operations of the rebels 
themselves before the coming of Farragut's fleet; 
a portion of these again were carried away with 
Lovell's retiring army. When Butler came, starva- 
tion was close upon 150,000 people of New Orleans.^ 

1 " My efforts to accumulate there were not in the city pro- 
provisions enough in the city to visions enough to sustain the 
feed the population had proved population for more than eigh- 
abortive, and an examination teen days." — Major-General Lov- 
made a few days previous to the ell, Testimony before a Court of 
evacuation had satisfied me that Inquiry. W. R. Vol. VI., p. 566. 



Chap. XVI. To avert tMs danger was the general's first urgent 
effort, and he made it successful over all difficul- 
ties. His second care was to quell and to control 
the dangerous disloyalty of the population. An 
order to his own soldiers forbade, under the sever- 
est penalties, the stealing of public or private prop- 
erty; a proclamation to the citizens established 
martial law and made minute regulations for the 
preservation of order. He gave to neutral aliens 
and to loyalists assurance of full protection to per- 
sons and property ; and to non-combatant Confed- 
erates also, so far as the exigencies of the public ser- 
vice would permit. In their most favorable phases, 
war and martial law are full of necessary sacrifice 
and harshness, and it may be said that Gleneral 
Butler's military government, firm and vigilant 
throughout, was tolerant and even liberal to the 
well-disposed and orderly, but severe against trans- 
gressors and the malicious plottings of certain 
individuals, corporations, and classes in aid of 

These pages do not afford room for an extended 
review of General Butler's administration. In all 
the war no man was so severely criticized by his ene- 
mies or more warmly defended by his friends. Con- 
federate newspapers, orators, and writers have ex- 
hausted the vocabulary of abuse for epithets to heap 
upon his name, from "Yankee" to "Beast" and 
"Butcher." Secession sympathizers in England ap- 
provingly echoed this defamation ; Palmerston in 
the House of Commons went out of his way to swell 
the unthinking British clamor by repeating the un- 
just censure. The whole subject might profitably be 
buried as part of the " animosities and passions of 


the war," were it not that Jefferson Davis songht to chap.xvi. 
turn the circiimstance to the advantage of the rebel- 
lion by a sensational official proclamation declaring 
Butler " an outlaw and common enemy of mankind, 
. . . to be immediately executed by hanging" in case 
of capture, also adding that "aU commissioned offi- 
cers in the command of said Benjamin F. Butler 
be declared not entitled to be considered as soldiers jjavis, 
engaged in honorable warfare, but as robbers and ^^°u^^' 
criminals deserving death ; and that they and each iseu^^w. k. 
of them be, wherever captured, reserved for execu- pp. soe, 967. 

Since the rebel chief thus prominently inscribed 
Butler and his officers on the historical record, 
the recitals of his proclamation deserve a pass- 
ing notice. In the Hst of reasons assigned to 
support his declaration of outlawry the allegations 
of imprisonment or expulsion from the city may 
be at once dismissed as the ordinary incidents of 
war, which the Confederates themselves were daily 
practising in different parts of the country. So 
also of the complaint of military fines and assess- 
ments ; manifestly they are a harsh and arbitrary 
mode of reprisal for treason and hostility, but 
international law recognizes them and aU civilized 
nations practise them. The charge that Butler 
armed African slaves for a servile war first disap- 
pears technically under Butler's showing that he 
armed no slaves, but only free citizens of color, 
many of whom the rebels themselves had enlisted 
and drilled before his coming; while the whole 
charge disappears generally under President Lin- 
coln's proclamation and policy of emancipation, 
begun before Davis's edict of outlawry was issued. 


Chap. XVI. There remain therefore but two further points to 
be examined, the execution of Mumford and the 
so-called "woman order." 

Mumford, it will be remembered, tore down the 
United States flag, which by Farragut's order was 
raised over the Mint on the morning of April 27. 
He remained in the city, openly boasted of his 
crime, and courted applause for his recklessness. 
When Butler came, he had him arrested and tried 
by a mihtary commission which, on June 5, con- 
sSon? victed him " of treason and an overt act thereof "; 

1862™ w.E. and Butler ordered the sentence to be executed on 
p.' 465." June 7, on which day Mumford was hanged. Jef- 
ferson Davis's proclamation calls this " deliberate 
^a^g^ murder," " when said Mumford was an unresisting 

prociama- ^^^ nou-combataut captive, and for no offense 

i862f''w.^E. even alleged to have been committed by him sub- 
p.' 906. " sequent to the date of the capture of the said city." 
Such a recital is the merest quibbling. The rebel 
President weU knew that the flag torn down by 
Mumford had been raised by Farragut, after the 
demand of unqualified surrender on April 26 ; after 
the reply by the Mayor on the same day, that the city 
was evacuated by Confederate troops, its adminis- 
tration restored back to him, that it was without 
means of defense, and promising a " religious com- 
pliance" of the people to yield obedience to the 
conqueror. Mumford's crime was against the 
sovereignty of the United States, duly claimed and 
enforced by the commissioned officer and the naval 
power of the Government, to which the municipal 
authority had formally submitted. The offender 
thus violated not only military law but also the 
sanctity of the Mayor's promise. To declare that 


Mumf ord was executed for pulling down the flag chap. xvi. 
at New Orleans before its occupation by the United 
States forces is willfully to ignore history, law, and 
evidence. There is no flaw in the chain of legal 
and technical justice. But if on merely humane 
considerations we question the severity of the pun- 
ishment, Jefferson Davis's extravagant fulmination 

is rebuked by the acts of his own Government and _ . . 

•J Beiyanain 

his distinct approval of them. Six months be- nov.''26^' 

fore the hanging of Mumford, the rebel Secre- ^volra.?' 
tary of War instructed his officer at Knoxville in see laso 

regard to the " traitors " in East Tennessee : " All to'cirTOii, 

. . , Dec. 10, 

such as can be identified as having been engaged isei. w. e. 

o o o Yoj VII., 

in bridge-burning are to be tried summarily by %J^*am?n 
drumhead court martial, and if found guilty ex- *" den!*°" 
ecuted on the spot by hanging. It would be well i86?.''"w.^r. 
to leave their bodies hanging in the vicinity of the p.' 764. " 
burned bridges." 

The consideration of the "woman order" requires 
a preliminary word. Nobody at the North could 
properly find fault with the women of the South 
for reflecting the political bias of Southern com- 
munities, or because the natural instincts of their 
sex led them to sympathize with, and warmly 
espouse, the secession and rebellion in which their 
fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons embarked. 
It was to be expected that their prayers would 
go with them to the battlefield, and their labors, 
charities, and sacrifices forward them cheer and 
comfort to camp and hospital. But the records 
and traditions of the war make it painfully evident 
that in every rebel State the expression of hatred 
for "Yankees" was intentionally practised and 
cultivated among portions of the female popu- 


Chap. XVI. latioD of towns and cities; and in this members 
of the upper classes were frequently the most 
conspicuous transgressors. Not content with merely 
entertaining feelings hostile to Union officers and 
soldiers, they indulged in obtrusive manifestations 
of them, relying on the respect and privilege ac- 
corded their sex for immunity from retort or retal- 
iation. They turned their backs to avoid looking at 
them. They stepped from sidewalks into the streets 
to avoid meeting them. They held aside their 
skirts to indicate a dread of contamination. They 
turned up their noses as if they smelt foul odors. 
They feigned nausea as if their presence were insup- 
portable. They retired from street cars or church 
pews when they entered. They flaunted miniature 
secession flags and sang secession songs in their 
presence or thumped secession melodies when they 
passed their open windows. They uttered uncompli- 
mentary remarks in their hearing, and in some 
extreme cases deliberately spat on the Federal 
uniform. Behavior of this nature was not isolated 
and local, but prevailed widely throughout the 
South in multiplied forms during the war. Prob- 
ably only a minority of the women of the South 
indulged in these antics ; but it was a minority so 
considerable and so diffused that such exhibitions 
uniformly attended the presence and progress of 
Federal armies in rebel communities. 

As a rule such behavior was only a rankling 
annoyance which soldiers and officers endured 
in silence. But in New Orleans, where a mere 
handful of troops had to govern a great population 
and prevent violence, it became a serious danger 
to discipline and authority. Such open and hourly 



disrespect was a constant incitement to disorder 
and mobs. "We were 2500 men," wrote Butler, 
"in a city seven miles long by two to four wide, of 
150,000 inhabitants, all hostile, bitter, defiant, explo- 
sive ; standing literally on a magazine, a spark only 
needed for destruction." But how abate the evil ? 
The ordinary punishments of arrest, fine, and im- 
prisonment were inapplicable. The offenses were 
too vague, the cases too numerous ; he could not 
bring even a fraction of these female malignants 
into a police court. The only remedy was to stamp 
their public mdeness with the seal of public dis- 
grace. In his own language : " No order could be 
made save one which would execute itself." He re- 
membered an old ordinance of the City of London, 
which he had read in some law-book, and copying 
its phraseology he, on May 15, published his " Order 
No. 28," which announced that "As the officers and 
soldiers of the United States have been subject to 
repeated insults from the women (calling them- 
selves ladies) of New Orleans in return for the most 
scrupulous non-interference and courtesy on our 
part, it is ordered that hereafter when any female 
shall, by word, gesture, or movement, insult or 
show contempt for any officer or soldier of the 
United States, she shall be regarded and held liable 
to be treated as a woman of the town plying her 

G-eneral Butler's simple and plain intention was 
to abate a nuisance in public demeanor which 
could be reached in no other way, and he so ex- 
plained it to the Mayor on the following day. 
"There can be, there has been," he wrote, "no 
room for the misunderstanding of Greneral Order 

Chap. XVI. 

Butler In 


p. 342. 


W. B. 
Vol. XV., 
p. 426. 



Chap. XVI. 


to Monroe, 

May 16, 



" General 

Butler in 



p. 333. 



July, 1863, 

p. 106. 

June 13, 

No. 28. No lady will take any notice of a strange 
gentleman, and a fortiori of a stranger, in such 
form as to attract attention. . . If obeyed, it will 
protect the true and modest woman from aU pos- 
sible insult." We have the published testimony of 
a member of General Butler's staff as to the result. 
" Can I say anything stronger," he wrote, " in vin- 
dication of the propriety of this order, or of the 
general's sagacity in issuing it, than that the first 
twenty-four hours after its promulgation witnessed 
a complete, and it seemed to us who were there 
almost miraculous, change in the deportment of 
the ladies of the Crescent City ? If success is the 
test of merit, then was it one of the most meritori- 
ous acts of the war." 

One tremendous outcry, however, of denuncia- 
tion and misconstruction of its language and intent 
arose from every rebel in the South and every rebel 
sympathizer in Europe. British blockade-runners 
were just beginning to reap their enormous profits 
from contraband trade with the rebellion; and 
Lord Palmerston, prime minister of England, grew 
eloquent, and the London "Times" and "Punch" 
indignant, over the " infamous " doings of the Yan- 
kee Haynau and Nana Sahib. General Butler's 
nature is combative, and he had a ready retort to 
such high criticism, which, in due time, he embodied 
in his farewell address.^ With a single additional 

l"To be sure I might have 
regaled you with the amenities of 
British civilization, and yet been 
within the supposed rules of civil- 
ized warfare. You might have 
been smoked to death in caverns, 
as were the Covenanters of Scot- 
land by the command of a general 

of the royal house of England ; or 
roasted, like the inhabitants of 
Algiers during the French cam- 
paign ; your wives and daughters 
might have been given over to the 
ravisher, as were the unfortunate 
dames of Spain in the Peninsular 
war; or you might have been 


comment the "woman order" may be dismissed chap.xvi. 
from consideration. In his proclamation of out- 
lawry against Butler, Jefferson Davis says of it: 
"The soldiers of the United States have been in- Davis, 
vited and encouraged by general orders to insult ™ion?'"'" 
and outrage the wives, the mothers, and the sisters i^^. w/k. 
of our citizens." Unconsciously, the rebel Presi- p-^"'- 
dent's language proved more than he intended. 
Like the testimony of many another prejudiced 
witness, his accusation answered itself. He wrote 
this assertion more than six full months after But- 
ler's order was issued, and during the whole of 
which period it had remained in force. In the 
same proclamation Davis recited, in as pathetic 
and harrowing language as he could command, the 
wrongs and sufferings which he alleged Butler's 
administration had heaped upon the people of New 
Orleans — fine, imprisonment, exile, chains, labor, 
confiscation, starvation, murder — but not one 
single instance of insult, much less outrage, under 
the " woman order," is mentioned in the long sen- 
sational catalogue. The simple truth is. Order No. 
28 sprang from no evil design of the commander, 
and was neither misunderstood by, nor provoked the 
least evU act from, his officers or soldiers. But for 
the prominence given it by Confederates to "fire 
the Southern heart" and stimulate the interven- 

scalped and tomahawked, as our paintings of the Vatican ; your 

mothers were at Wyoming by the sons might have heen blown from 

savage allies of Great Britain the mouths of cannon, like the 

in our own Revolution ; your Sepoys at Delhi ; and yet all this 

property could have been turned would have been vsdthin the rules 

over to indiscriminate 'loot,' like of civilized warfare as practised 

the palace of the Emperor of by the most polished and the 

China ; works of art which most hypocritical nations of Eu- 

adorned your buildings might rope."— Parton, "General Butler 

have been sent away, like the in New Orleans," pp. 603, 604. 


Chap. XVI. tion of France and England, it would have merited 
no discussion except as a question of taste. In 
that respect it can no more be defended than can 
the unseemly parade of it as a Southern grievance ; 
at the same time its salutary influence in checking 
the public misbehavior at which it was aimed will 
scarcely be denied. 

However loud was the outcry against Butler's 
methods, there is a cheerful and universal admission 
of his energy and efficiency. Never iq its long his- 
tory was New Orleans so quiet, orderly, clean, and 
healthy. Though he rigorously exacted obedience to 
his police orders, and abstinence from public and pri- 
vate hostility to the flag and laws of his Government, 
he repaid the people a thousand-fold by keeping the 
wolf of starvation from their doors and the dreadful 
scourge of yellow fever out of their homes. The 
city was without provisions and without occupa- 
tion ; with trade stagnant, with supplies cut off, with 
industry paralyzed, with a worthless currency, with 
credit destroyed, with confidence gone, with poverty 
wide-spread and irremediable, with demoralization 
in every part of the social structure. These com- 
bined evils he grappled with intelligent resolution 
and the confidence born of an indomitable will. 
He distributed among the poor the captured Con- 
federate rations. He allowed provisions already 
purchased by the city to be freely brought from 
Mobile and Red Eiver ; he organized relief associa- 
tions. Finding certain lists of wealthy citizens who 
had subscribed a million and a quarter to the rebel 
war fund, he assessed them one-fourth their sub- 
scription and appUed it to feeding the poor. This 
relief fund was augmented by contributions levied 


on another list of merchants who had published a chap.xvi. 
newspaper card advising planters not to send their 
produce to New Orleans. But he also made this 
relief fund serve a wider purpose than mere charity. 
He used it to employ from one to two thousand 
laborers every day "in cleaning the streets and 
building up the levees, and putting the city to 
rights, generally. All the drainage of the city is 
done by means of canals, and we cleaned out be- 
tween ten and eleven miles of canal, some of which 
had not been cleaned for twelve or fifteen years. 
The consequence was that we had comparatively no 
sickness in the city of New Orleans. I had a regi- 
ment, a thousand strong, in the city during the 
months of July and August, and it buried but one 
man." This was one essential step, maintaining 
public health ; but he did not neglect the other. " I 
established a very strict quarantine," continues his 
testimony. "I would not aUow any vessel that 
came from an infected port to come up to the city 
under thirty days. If she had anything like a 
perishable cargo it was taken out and thoroughly 
overhauled and fumigated. . . I did allow a 
smaU steamer from New York to come up, the 
captain stating that he touched at Nassau merely to 
take in coal, and was there but a short time. It 
turned out, however, that he did take passengers 
on board, one of whom had the yellow fever after 
he arrived at New Orleans. I immediately had the 
square shut up completely, allowed no one to enter 
or leave it, whitewashed everything, cleaned the 
square up, fumigated it, and when the man died 
buried him and pretty much everything he had 
ever looked at. This ended the matter ; we did not 


Chap. XVI. Lave another case of yellow fever in New Orleans. 
That, however, demonstrated the fact that yellow 
fever is not indigenous there, bnt requires to be 
imported, and that it may be quarantined even 
after it has been brought into the river. It per- 
haps can be fully done only by military measures, 
but it was effectually done there, although they had 
Te^ttafoV, ^^ everywhere on the coast, — at Matamoras, Gal- 
C(^m'ittee vcstou, SaMue Pass, and at Pensacola, — and I had 
of thewax. flve Or six cascs down at quarantine." 

It must not be inferred that the rebels threw no 
Jefferson obstacles in Butler's way. The persistent effort 
to Monroe, of the Mayor to recant his surrender of the city 
i862^"w^.*'e. has been noted; and following out this poUcy, 
p. 'su." which was prompted from Eichmond, secret mach- 
inations by prominent Confederates perplexed the 
commanding general at almost every step of his 
administration. They abused his permits to bring 
food, by secret mails and contraband supplies. 
The city authorities neglected efficient cooperation. 
The rebel Governor refused to allow provisions to 
be brought. Banks and corporations connived 
with foreign consuls to hide rebel funds. It was a 
running fight between loyal government and aU 
the subterfuges which treason could invent, and 
Butler used his power of detection and punishment 
unsparingly upon willful offenders. But a fair 
balancing of motives and acts would show that in 
his hands military despotism, instead of bringing 
oppression and inflicting suffering, compelled the 
community to submit to peace and protection, to 
charity and bounty, to health and life. Under the 
teachings of its leaders, and its blind political rage, 
New Orleans had done its full share to create 


war ; Butler, with autocratic will, forced upon it chap. xvi. 
quiet and order. With suicidal folly it had created 
destitution and want and raised the gaunt specter 
of famine ; with imperious authority Butler filled 
its hungry mouths and obliged it to reorganize 
industry and reestablish trade. Through misrule 
and indolent neglect it had invited pestilence; 
Butler relentlessly constrained it to a cleanliness 
and health it had never experienced. One might 
almost transpose the Scripture parable to contrast 
their contumacious opposition and his beneficent 
compulsion. They asked a scorpion, and he gave 
them an egg ; they asked a serpent, and he gave 
them a fish ; they asked a stone, and he gave them 

Ch. XVII. 


to Slgel, 

Feb. 1, 1862. 

W. R. 
Vol. VIII., 

p. 641. 



AS a powerful supplement to the Union victories 
f\ in Tennessee, the military operations west of 
the Mississippi Eiver next demand our attention. 
Under the vigorous promptings of HaUeck we left 
the army of General S. E. Curtis engaged in his try- 
ing midwinter campaign in Southwestern Missouri. 
He made ready with all haste to comply with the 
order to " push on as rapidly as possible and end 
the matter with Price." His army obeyed every 
order with cheerful endurance. " They contend 
with mud, water, and snow and ice manfully," 
wrote Curtis under date of February 1, 1862, " and 
I trust they vrill not falter in the face of a more 
active foe." In the same spirit he encouraged his 
officers: "The roads are indeed very bad, but 
they are worse for the enemy than for us if he 
attempts to retreat. . . The men should help the 
teams out of difficulty when necessary, and all 
must understand that the elements are to be con- 
sidered serious obstacles,'which we have to encoun- 
ter and overcome in this campaign. . . Constant 
bad roads will be the rule, and a change for the 
better a rare exception." 



As already remarked, Price had kept his situa- ch. xvii. 
tion and mimbers well concealed. He was known 
to be at Springfield; but rumor exaggerated his 
force to thirty thousand, and it was uncertain 
whether he intended to retreat or advance. Ee- 
ports also came that Van Dorn was marching to 
his support with ten thousand men. Curtis kept 
the offensive, however, pushing forward his out- 
posts. By the 13th of February Price found his 
position untenable and ordered a retreat from 
Springfield. Since McCuUoch would not come to 
Missouri to furnish Price assistance, Price was per- 
force compelled to go to Arkansas, where McCul- 
loch might furnish him protection. Curtis pursued 
with vigor. " We continually take cattle, prisoners, 
wagons, and arms, which they leave in their flight," 
he wrote. Near the Arkansas line Price endeav- 
ored to make a stand with his rear-guard, but 
without success. On February 18, in a special 
order announcing the recent Union victories else- 
where, Curtis was able to congratulate his own 
troops as follows : " You have moved in the 
most inclement weather, over the worst of roads, 
making extraordinary long marches, subsisting 
mainly on meat without salt, and for the past six 
days you have been under the fire of the fleeing ^c^ders^' 
enemy. You have driven him out of Missouri, igel^^w^fe 
restored the Union flag to the virgin soil of Arkan- 
sas, and triumphed in two contests." 

The rebels were in no condition to withstand 
him, and he moved forward to Cross Hollow, where 
the enemy had hastily abandoned a large canton- 
ment with extensive buildings, only a portion of 
which they stopped to burn. It was time for Curtis 

Vol. v.— 19 

Vol. VIII., 
p. 660. 


ch.xvii. to pause. He was 240 miles from Ms railroad base 
at Eolla, wliere he had begun his laborious march. 
Orders soon came from Halleck not to penetrate 
farther into Arkansas, but to hold his position and 
keep the enemy south of the Boston Mountains. 
"Hold your position," wrote Halleck, March 7, "tiU 
I can turn the enemy." At that date Halleck ex- 
pected to make a land march along what he deemed 
to be the central strategic line southward from 
Fort Donelson, turn the enemy at Memphis, and 
compel the Confederate forces to evacuate the 
whole Mississippi Valley down to that point. 

There was, however, serious work yet in store 
for Curtis. To obviate the jealousies and bicker- 
ings among Trans-Mississippi Confederate com- 
manders, the Richmond authorities had combined 
the Indian Territory with portions of Louisiana, 
Arkansas, and Missouri in the Trans-Mississippi 
^°' V."^.^^^' District of Department No. II., and had sent Major- 
^"p.Ta^"" Greneral Earl "Van Dorn to command the whole. 
His letters show that he went full of enthusiasm 
and brilliant anticipations. He did not dream of 
being kept on the defensive. He called for troops 
from Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, and ordered 
the armies of McCulloch and Colonel James Mcin- 
tosh, and Greneral Albert Pike with his Indian regi- 
ments, to join him. From these various sources 
he hoped to collect a force of 40,000 men at 
Pocahontas, Arkansas. Unaware that Price was 
then retreating from Springfield, he wrote to that 
commander, under date of February 14, proposing 
a quick and secret march against St. Louis, which 
he hoped to capture by assault. Holding that 
city would soon secure Missouri and relieve John- 


ston, seriously pressed in Tennessee. He would ch. xvii. 

not wait to prepare, but would adopt the style 

of frontier equipment and supply : " Flour, salt, 

and a little bacon in our wagons, and beef cattle vanDom 

driven with us, should be our commissariat. Grain- Feb. 14' 

'. . 1862, and 

bags, to contain two days' rations of corn, to be ^p^c™ 
carried on our troopers' saddles, and money our ^^V'b"''^' 
paymaster's department, and sufficient ammunition ^° wl^e'i. 
our ordnance department." 

But he did not have time enough to extemporize 
even his haversack campaign. He found his base 
of supplies menaced from the northeast, and infor- 
mation soon followed that Price was flying in con- 
fusion from the northwest. Ten days later we find 
him writing to Johnston : " Price and McCuUoch 
are concentrated at Cross Hollow. . . Whole force 
of enemy [Union] from 35,000 to 40,000 ; ours about 
20,000. Should Pike be able to join, our forces 
wiU be about 26,000. I leave this evening to go to 
the army, and will give battle, of course, if it does J Ma^S, 
not take place before I arrive. I have no doubt of 18^2^** w^fe. 
the result. If I succeed, I shall push on." Van ^piTs"^" 
Dorn found the Confederate forces united in the 
Boston Mountains, fifty-five miles south of Sugar 
Creek, to which point Curtis had retired for better 
security. He immediately advanced with his whole 
force, attacking the Union position on the 6th of 
March. On the 7th was fought the principal con- 
test, known as the battle of Pea Eidge, or Elkhorn 
Tavern. As usual, rumor exaggerated the forces on 
both sides. By the official reports it appears that 
Van Dorn's available command numbered 16,202. 
The Union troops under Curtis numbered only 
about 10,500, but they had the advantage of a de- 



Ch. XVII. 


to Curtis, 

April 12, 

1862, and 

Bussey to 


May 11, 

1862. W. R. 

Vol. VIII., 

pp. 206-208. 



March 14, 

1862. W. R. 

Vol. VIII., 

p. 288. 

fensive attitude, and gained a complete victory, to 
which the vigilance and able strategy of the Union 
commander effectively contributed. 

The Confederate attack on the afternoon of the 
6th appears to have been the mere pursuit of Cur- 
tis's retiring outpost. That night Van Dorn made 
a bold flank movement, gaining Curtis's right and 
rear. Curtis, however, became informed in time, 
and skillfully changed his whole line, and in a 
stronger position again confronted the enemy in 
perfect order. The rebel attack of the 7th was 
mainly on Curtis's center and right. Generals Mc- 
CuUoch, Mcintosh, and other prominent rebel 
officers were killed early in the action, and the on- 
set was thereby greatly disconcerted and confused. 
The Union troops fought with a gallant and stub- 
born courage throughout the whole of the 7th. 
During the night Curtis once more re-formed his 
lines and himself advanced to the attack on the 
morning of the 8th, quickly driving the Confederates 
into precipitate and scattered retreat. The Union 
loss was, 203 killed, 980 wounded, and 201 captured 
or missing; while the Confederate loss, not so 
accurately ascertained, was estimated to be between 
1000 and 1300. In the official report of the Union 
commander pointed complaint is made that the 
Indian allies of the rebels, which Pike had brought 
from the Indian Territory, were in some instances 
guilty of the atrocities peculiar to savages; that 
the wounded were scalped, tomahawked, and other- 
wise mutilated; the distinct evidence of eyewit- 
nesses is cited as to eight or ten cases. General 
Pike's official report states that he brought nearly 
a thousand Indians to the battle, mainly as cavalry, 


and their Tmtamed instincts might easily have ch. xvii. 

lapsed into a wider barbarity. But the Union cause 

is not free to cast reproaches on the Confederates 

for the use of the Indians. It was not long before ^Ha'S!** 

the War Department at Washington authorized the imJ^^ 

enlistment of five thousand friendly Indians for ^pi^™" 

Union service. 

The diminished and scattered forces of Van Dorn, 
retreating by different routes from the battle of 
Pea Eidge, were not again wholly united. Pike 
was ordered to conduct his Indian regiments back 
to the Indian Territory for local duty. The main 
remnant of the Confederate army followed Van 
Dorn to the eastward in the direction of Poca- 
hontas, where he proposed to reorganize it, and to 
resume the offensive. Halleck, cautioning Curtis 
to hold his position and keep well on his guard, 
speaks of Van Dorn as a " vigilant and energetic 
officer"; and Van Dorn's language certainly in- 
dicates activity, whatever may be thought of the 
discretion it betrays. He had hardly shaken from 
his feet the dust of his rout at Pea Ridge when he 
again began writing that he contemplated relieving 
the stress of Confederate disaster in Tennessee by ^^ .^^^^ 
attempting to capture the city of St. Louis, a wiU- johmton, 
o'-the-wisp project that had by turns dazzled the i^^^Vh. 
eyes of all the Confederate commanders in the Mis- p! 790. " 
sissippi VaUey; or, as another scheme, perhaps a 
mere prelude to this, he would march eastward 
against Pope and raise the siege of New Madrid, on 
the Mississippi River. This brings us to a narrative 
of events at that point. 

With the fall of Fort Donelson the rebel strong- 
hold at Columbus had become useless. Its evacua- 


CH. XVII. tion soon followed (March 2, 1862), and tlie 
Confederates immediately turned their attention 
to holding the next barrier on the Mississippi 
Eiver. This was at a point less than one hundred 
miles below Cairo, where the Father of Waters 
makes two large bends, which, joined together, lie 
like a reversed letter S placed horizontally. At the 
foot of this first bend lay Island No. 10 ; from there 
the river flows northwards to the town of New 
Madrid, Missouri, passing which it resumes its 
southward course. The country is not only flat, as 
the bend indicates, but it is encompassed in almost 
all directions by nearly impassable swamps and 
bayous. Island No. 10, therefore, and its imme- 
diate neighborhood, seemed to offer unusual ad- 
vantages to bar the Mississippi with warlike 
obstructions. As soon as the evacuation of Co- 
lumbus was determined upon, all available rebel 
resources and skill were concentrated here. The 
island, the Tennessee shore of the river, and the 
town of New Madrid were strongly fortified and 
occupied with considerable garrisons — about 3000 
men at the former and some 5000 at the latter 

General Halleck, studying the strategical condi- 
tions of the whole Mississippi Valley with tenfold 
interest since the victories of Grant, also had his 
eye on this position, and was now as eager to cap- 
ture it as the rebels were to defend it. One of the 
quickest movements of the whole war ensued. 
General John Pope was selected to lead the ex- 
pedition, and the choice was not misplaced. On the 
22d of February, six days after the surrender of Fort 
Donelson, Pope landed at the town of Commerce, 


Missouri, on the Mississippi River, with 140 men. ch. xvii. 
On the 28th he was on the march at the head of 
10,000, who had been sent him in the interim from 
St. Lonis and Cairo. On the 3d of March, at one 1862. 
o'clock in the afternoon, he appeared before the 
town of New Madrid with his whole force, to which 
further reenf orcements were soon added, raising his 
army to about 20,000. It would have required but 
a few hours to capture the place by assault, but 
the loss of life would have been great and the sac- 
rifice virtually useless. It was the season of the 
early spring floods; the whole country was sub- 
merged, and the river was at a very high stage 
between its levees. In addition to its earthworks 
and its garrison, New Madrid was guarded by a 
fleet of eight rebel gunboats under command of 
Commodore Greorge N. HoUins. The high water 
floated these vessels at such an elevation that their 
guns commanded every part of the town, and made 
its occupation by hostile troops impossible. Had 
Pope entered with his army, HoUins would have 
destroyed both town and troops at his leisure. 

Pope therefore surrounded the place with siege- 
works in which he could protect his men; and 
sending a detachment to Point Pleasant on the 
river, nine mUes below, secured a lodgment for 
batteries that closed the river to rebel transports 
and cut off the enemy's reenforcements and sup- 
plies. The movement proved effectual. Ten days 
later (March 13, 1862) the rebels evacuated New 
Madrid, leaving everything behind. The Confed- 
erates now held Island No. 10 and the Tennessee 
shore, but their retreat was cut off by the swamps 
beyond and Pope's batteries below. The rebel gun- 


CH. XVII. boat flotilla had retired down the river. Pope's 
forces held New Madrid and the Missouri shore, 
but they had neither transports nor gunboats, and 
without these could not cross to the attack. In this 
dilemma Pope once more called upon Flag-officer 
Foote to bring the Union fleet of gunboats down 
the river, attack and silence the batteries of Island 
No. 10, and assist in capturing the rebel army, 
which his strategy had shut in a trap. 

Foote, although commanding a fleet of nine 
Union gunboats, objected that the difficulty and 
risk were too great. With aU their formidable 
strength the gunboats had two serious defects. 
Only their bows were protected by the heavier iron 
plating so as to be shot-proof, and their engines 
were not strong enough to back easily against the 
powerful current of the Mississippi. In their attacks 
on Forts Henry and Donelson they had fought up- 
stream; when disabled, the mere current carried 
them out of the enemy's reach. On the Mississippi 
this was reversed. Compelled to fight down-stream, 
they would, if disabled, be carried directly towards 
the enemy. A bombardment at long range from 
both gun and mortar boats had proved ineffectual 
to silence the rebel batteries. Pope's expedition 
seemed destined to prove fruitless, when a new 
expedient was the occasion of success. 

The project of a canal to turn Island No. 10 was 

B*i^9eii; revived.^ The floods of the Mississippi, pouring 

i862'.''*'w^E. through breaks in the levees, inundated the sur- 


p. 625. ■' rounding country. Colonel J. W. Bissell, of the en- 

1 General Schuyler Hamilton by General Pope's official report 
claims to have suggested this of May 2, 1862.— War Records, 
plan; and his claim is supported Volume Vm., page 86. 


gineer regiment, returning in a canoe with a guide ch. xvii. 
from Ms unsuccessful visit to secure Foote's coop- 
eration, learned that a bayou, from two and a half 
to three miles west of the Mississippi, ran irregu- 
larly to the southwest from the neighborhood of 
Island No. 8, the station of the Union gunboat flo- 
tilla, to its jimction with the river at New Madrid, a 
distance of twelve miles. An open cornfield and an 
opening in the woods, which marked the course of 
an old road, suggested the possibility of connecting j ^ 
the river with the bayou; but between the end of ..Batoes 
the road and the bayou lay a belt of heavy timber LeSers 
two miles in width. How could he get a fleet of civii war." 
vessels over the ground thickly covered by trees of p- ieo- 
every size, from a sapling to a forest veteran three 
feet in diameter, whose roots stood six or seven feet 
under water ? Modern mechanical appliances are 
not easUy baffled by natural obstacles. Six hundred 
skiUful mechanics working with the aid of steam 
and machinery, and directed by American inventive 
ingenuity, brought the wonder to pass. In a few 
days Colonel Bissell had a line of four light-draft 
steamboats and six coal-barges ^ crossing the corn- 
field and entering the open road. Great saws, bent 
in the form of an arc and fastened to frames swing- 
ing on pivots, severed the tree-trunks four and a 
half feet under water ; ropes, puUeys, and capstans 
hauled the encumbering debris out of the path. In 
eight days the amphibious fleet was in the bayou. 
Here were new difficulties — to clear away the dams 
of accumulated and entangled drift-wood. 

1 The barges used were coal- six inehes thick, and of solid 

barges, ahout eighty feet long and timber. — J. W. Bissell, "Battles 

twenty wide, scow-shaped, with and Leaders of the Civil War." 

both ends alike. The sides were Vol. I., p. 461. 


ch.xvii. In a few days more Bissell's boats and barges 
were ready to emerge into the Mississippi at New 
Madrid, but yet kept prudently concealed. Two 
gunboats were needed to protect the transports in 
crossing troops. The sagacious judgment of Foote 
and the heroism of his subordinates supplied these at 
the opportune moment. Commander Henry Walke 

to Walke, of the Caroudelet volunteered to run the batteries at 
1862. w.B. Island No. 10 ; and, now that the risk was iustifled, 

Vol. VIII. M / 

p- 121- ' the flag-officer consented. On the night of the 4th of 
April, after the moon had gone down, the gunboat 
Carondelet, moving with as little noise as possible, 
swung into the stream from her moorings and 
started on her perilous voyage. It must have 
seemed an omen of success that a sudden thunder- 
storm with its additional gloom and noise came up 
to aid the attempt. The movement was unsuspected 
by the enemy till, by one of the frequent flashes of 
lightning, the rebel sentries, on the earthworks of 
Island No. 10 and the shore batteries opposite, saw 
the huge turtle-shaped river craft stand out in vivid 
outline, to be in a second hidden again by the dense 
obscurity. Alarm cries rang out, musketry rattled, 
great guns resounded ; the ship almost touched the 
shore in the drift of the crooked channel. But the 
Confederate guns could not be aimed amidst the 
swift succession of brilliant flashes and total dark- 
ness. The rebel missiles flew wild, and a little after 
midnight the Carondelet lay unharmed at the New 
Madrid landing. Commander Walke had made the 
flrst successful experiment in a feat of daring and 
skill that was many times repeated after he had 
demonstrated its possibility. 
The gunboat Pittslurgh, also running past the 


rebel batteries at night, joined tbe Carondelet at ch. xvii. 
New Madrid on the morning of April 7, and the 
problem of Pope's difficulties was solved. When 
he crossed his troops over the river by help of his 
gunboats and transports, formidable attack was no to weuee, 
longer necessary. Island No. 10 had surrendered isea?'^ w.'r. 
to Flag-officer Foote that morning, and the several p! ees. " 
rebel garrisons were using their utmost endeavors 
to effect a retreat southward. Pope easily inter- 
cepted their movement ; on that and the following Haiieck, 
day he received the surrender of three general iset^'w^fe. 
officers and six or seven thousand Confederate p! 676. ' 

As Greneral Pope's victory had been gained with- 
out loss or demoralization, he prepared immediately 
to push his operations farther south. " If trans- 
portation arrives to-morrow or next day," tele- 
graphed Assistant Secretary Scott, who was with 
him at New Madrid, "we shall have Memphis with- 
in ten days." HaUeck responded with the promise 
of ten large steamers to carry troops, and other 
suggestions indicating his approval of the move- 
ment " down the river." In the same dispatch 
HaUeck gave news of the Union victory at Pitts- 
burg Landing on the Tennessee River, and an- 
nounced his intention to proceed thither, and asked 
Assistant Secretary Scott to meet him at Cairo 
for consultation. The meeting took place on 
the 10th of April, by which time HaUeck had 
become more impressed with the severity and the 
perils of the late battle on the Tennessee ; for 
Scott asked the Washington authorities whether a 
reenforcement of 20,000 or 30,000 men could not 
be sent from the East to make good the loss. This 



Ch. XVII. 

A. Scott 

to Stanton, 
April IB, 

1862. W. E. 

Vol. X., 

Part II., 

p. 107. 

conference probably originated tbe idea that soon 
interrupted the successful river operations, by with- 
drawing the army under Pope. Eeenforcements 
could not be spared from the East, and Pope's 
army became the next resource. For the present, 
however, there was a continuation of the first 

Pope's preliminary orders for embarkation were 
issued on the 10th, and on the 14th the combined 
land and naval forces which had reduced Island 
No. 10 reached Fort Pillow. Its works were found 
to be strong and extensive. The overflow of the 
whole country rendered land operations difficult ; 
it was estimated that it would require two weeks 
to turn the position and reduce the works. Mean- 
while information was obtained that Van Dom's 
rebel army from Arkansas was about to reenforce 
Beauregard at Corinth. In view of aU this, Assist- 
ant Secretary Scott asked the question : " If Gren- 
eral Pope finds, after careful examination, that he 
cannot capture Fort Pillow within ten days, had he 
not better reenforce Greneral Halleck immediately 
and let Commodore Foote continue to blockade be- 
low until forces can be returned and the position 
be turned by General Halleck beating Beauregard 
and marching upon Memphis from Corinth?" 
Before an answer came from the War Department 
at Washington, HaUeck, who had for several days 
been with the army on the Tennessee River, de- 
cided the question for himself and telegraphed to 
Pope (April 15), " Move with your army to this 
place, leaving troops enough with Commodore 
Foote to land and hold Fort Pillow, should the 
enemy's forces withdraw." At the same time he 


sent the following suggestion to Flag-officer Foote: ch. xvii. 
" I have ordered General Pope's army to this place, 
but I think you had best continue the bombard- 
ment of Fort Pillow; and if the enemy should Haiieck 
abandon it, take possession or go down the river, Aprii^iB,' 
as you may deem best. General Pope will leave ^^voi.^'.f' 

Part II 

forces enough to occupy any fortifications that p- los. " 
may be taken." 

The plan was forthwith carried into effect. The 
transports, instead of disembarking Pope's troops 
to invest Fort Pillow, were turned northward, and 
steaming up the Mississippi to Cairo, thence to 
Paducah, and from Paducah up the Tennessee 
Eiver, landed the whole of Pope's army, except 
two regiments, at Pittsburg Landing, on the 22d 
of April. The flotilla under Foote and the two 
regiments left behind continued in front of Fort 
Pillow, keeping up a show of attack, by a bom- 
bardment from one of the mortar-boats and such 
reconnaissances as the little handful of troops 
could venture, to discover if possible some weak 
point in the enemy's defenses. On the other hand, 
the Confederates, watching what they thought a 
favorable opportunity, brought up eight of their 
gunboats, and made a spirited attack on the Union 
vessels on the morning of May 10. In a short 
combat two of the Union gunboats, which bore 
the brunt of the onset, were seriously disabled, 
though not until they had inflicted such damage on 
three Confederate vessels that they drifted help- 
lessly out of the fight ; after which the remainder 
of the rebel flotilla retired from the encounter. 
For nearly a month after this preliminary gunboat 
battle the river operations, though full of excit- 


ch. XVII. ing daily incident, were marked by no very im- 
portant event. Mention, however, needs to be here 
made of a change in the control of the Union 
fleet. Flag-officer Foote had been wounded in the 
ankle during his attack on Fort Donelson, and his 
injury now caused him so much suffering and 
exhaustion of strength that he was compelled to 
relinquish his command. He took leave of his 
1862. flotiUa on the 9th of May, and was succeeded by 
Captain Charles H. Davis, who from that time 
onward had charge of the gunboat operations on 
the upper Mississippi. 



THE faU of Fort Donelson hastened, almost to ch. xvm. 
a panic, the retreat of the Confederates from 
other points. By that surrender about one-third 
of their fighting force in Tennessee vanished from 
the campaign, while their whole web of strategy 
was instantly dissolved. The full possession of the 
Tennessee Eiver by the Union gunboats for the 
moment hopelessly divided the Confederate com- 
mands, and like a flushed covey of birds the rebel 
generals started on their several lines of retreat 
without concert or rallying point. Albert Sidney 
Johnston, the department commander, moved 
southeast towards Chattanooga, abandoning Nash- 
ville to its fate ; while Beauregard, left to his own 
discretion and resources, took measures to effect 
the evacuation of Columbus so as to save its arma- 
ment and supplies, and then proceeded to the rail- 
road crossings of Northern Mississippi to coUect 
and organize a new army. 

It is now evident that if the Union forces could 
have been promptly moved forward in harmonious 
combination, with the facility which the opening 
of the Tennessee Eiver afforded them, such an 
advance might have been made, and such stra- 



ch. XVIII. tegie points gained and held, as would have saved 
at least an entire year of campaign and battle in 
the West. Unfortunately this great advantage was 
not seized, and in the condition of affairs could not 
be ; and a delay of a fortnight or more enabled the 
insurgents to renew the confidence and gather the 
forces to establish another line farther to the south, 
and again to interpose a formidable resistance. 
One cause of this inefficiency and delay of the 
Union commanders may be easily gleaned from the 
dispatches interchanged by them within a few days 
succeeding the faU of Fort Donelson, and which, 
aside from their military bearings, form an inter- 
esting study of human nature. 

General Buell, from his headquarters at Louis- 
ville, wrote (February 17, 1862) that since the reen- 
forcements (Nelson's division) started by him to 
assist at Fort Donelson were no longer needed, he 
had ordered them back. " The object of both our 
forces," he continued, " is, directly or indirectly, to 
strike at the power of the rebellion in its most 
vital point within our field. Nashville appears 
clearly, I think, to be that point." He thought 
further that heavy reenforcements would soon be 
thrown into it by the rebels. The leisurely manner 
in which he expected to strike at this heart of the 
rebellion appears from these words in the same 
letter : " To depend on wagons at this season for a 
large force seems out of the question, and I fear it 
may be two weeks before I can get a bridge over 
the Barren River, so as to use the railroad beyond. 
Haueck, I shall endeavor, however, to make an advance in 

i8S!^w.'e. less or much force before that time. . . Let me 

Vol. VII., -, 

p. 630. hear your views." 


Halleck, at St. Louis, was agitated by more ch. xvm. 
rapid emotions. Watching the distant and dan- 
gerous campaign under Curtis in Southwestern 
Missouri, beginning another of mingled hazard 
and brilliant promise under Pope on the Missis- 
sippi, beset by perplexities of local administration, 
flushed to fever heat by the unexpected success of 
Grant, his mind ran forward eagerly to new pros- 
pects. "I am not satisfied with present success," 
he telegraphed Sherman. "We must now prepare ?he™^^ 
for a still more important movement. You will not isei w. e. 

. Vol VII 

be forgotten in this." But this preparation seems, p. 629. 
in his mind, to have involved something more than 
orders from himself. 

Before he received the news of the surrender of 
Fort Donelson he became seriously alarmed lest 
the rebels, using their river transportation, might 
rapidly concentrate, attack Grant in the rear, crush 
him before succor could reach him, and return- 
ing quickly, be as ready as before to confront and 
oppose BueU. Even after the surrender Halleck 
manifests a continuing fear that some indefinite 
concentration will take place, and a quick reprisal 
be executed by a formidable expedition against 
Paducah or Cairo. His overstrained appeals to 
BueU for help do not seem justified in the fuU light 
of history. An undertone of suggestion and de- 
mand indicates that this urgency, while based on 
his patriotic eagerness for success, was not wholly 
free from personal ambition. 

We have seen how, when he heard of Grant's 

victory, he generously asked that BueU, Grant, and 

Pope be made major-generals of volunteers, and 

with equal generosity to himself broadly added, 

Vol. v.— 20 


ch. XVIII. " and give me command in the West." He could 
not agree witli Buell that Nashville was the most 
vital point of the rebellion in the West, and that 
heavy rebel reenforcements would be thrown into it 
from aU quarters east and south. HaUeck develops 
his idea with great earnestness in replying to that 
suggestion from Buell. He says: 

To remove all questions as to rank, I have asked the 
President to make you a major-general. Come down to 
the Cumberland and take command. The battle of the 
West is to be fought in that vicinity. You should be in 
it as the ranking general in immediate command. Don't 
hesitate. Come to Clarksville as rapidly as possible. 
Say that you will come, and I will have everything there 
for you. Beauregard threatens to attack either Cairo or 
Paducah ; I must be ready for him. Don't stop any troops 
ordered down the Ohio. We want them all. You shall 
have them back in a few days. Assistant Secretary of 
War Scott left here this afternoon to confer with you. 
He knows my plans and necessities. I am terribly hard 
pushed. Help me, and I will help you. Hunter has acted 
nobly, generously, bravely. Without his aid I should 
have failed before Fort Donelson. Honor to him. We 
came within an ace of being defeated. If the fragments 
which I sent down had not reached there on Saturday we 
should have gone in. A retreat at one time seemed almost 
inevitable. All right now. Help me to carry it out. Talk 
freely with Scott. It is evident to me that you and Mc- 
Clellan did not at last accounts appreciate the strait I 
have been in. I am certain you will when you under- 

Haiieokto stand it all. Help me, I beg of you. Throw all your 
Pe^w troops ^^ t^® direction of the Cumberland. Don't stop 

1M2 w. k any one ordered here. You will not regret it. There will 

PP? 632, 633. be no battle at Nashville. 

In answer to an inquiry from Assistant Secre- 
tary Scott, he explained further: "I mean that 
Buell should move on Clarksville with his present 
column ; there unite his Kentucky army and move 


up the Cumberlaiid, wMle I act on the Tennessee, ch. xviir. 
We should then be able to cooperate." This pro- TifomasA. 
posal was entirely judicious, but in HaUeck's Feb. 20, 
mind it was subordinated to another considera- ^°i-^y„"' 

p. 642. 

tion, namely, that he should exercise superior 
command in the West. Again he telegraphed to 
McClellan (February 19), " Grive it [the Western 
division] to me, and I will split secession in twain 
in one month." The same confidence is also ex- 
pressed to Buell, in a simultaneous dispatch to 
Assistant Secretary Scott, who was with Buell. 
" If General BueU will come down and help me 
with all possible haste we can end the war in the 
West in less than a month." A day later Halleck 
becomes almost peremptory in a dispatch to Mc- 
CleUan : "I must have command of the armies in 
the West. Hesitation and delay are losing us the 
golden opportunity. Lay this before the President voYvi'i., 
and Secretary of War. May I assume the com- ^^' ui. 
mand? Answer quickly." 

To this direct interrogatory McClellan replied in 
the negative. The request was hardly couched in 
proper terms to find ready acquiescence from a 
military superior. In this case, however, it was also 
calculated to rouse a twofold instinct of jealousy. 
Buell was a warm personal friend of McClellan, and 
the latter could not be expected to diminish the op- 
portunities or endanger the chances of his favorite. 
But more important yet was the question how this 
sudden success in HaUeck's department, and the 
extension of command and power so boldly de- 
manded, might affect McClellan's own standing 
and authority. He was yet general-in-chief, but 
the Administration was dissatisfied at his inaction. 


ch. XVIII. and , the President had indicated, in the general 
war order requiring all the armies of the United 
States to move on the 22d of February, that his 
patience had a limit. McClellan did not believe 
that the army under his own immediate care and 
command would be ready to fulfill the President's 
order. Should he permit a rival to arise in the 
West and grasp a great victory before he could 

An hour after midnight McClellan answered 
Halleck as follows: "Buell at Bowling Green 
knows more of the state of affairs than you at St. 
Louis. Until I hear from him I cannot see neces- 
sity of giving you entire command. I expect to 
hear from Buell in a few minutes. I do not yet see 
to nlnl™, ^^^^ Buell cannot control his own line. I shall not 
im^^wln. lay your request before the Secretary until I hear 
^p. el"" definitely from Buell." Halleck did not feel wholly 
bafled by the unfavorable response. That day he 
received a dispatch from Stanton, who said: 
"Tour plan of organization has been transmitted 
to me by Mr. Scott and strikes me very favorably, 
but on account of the domestic affliction of the 
^Haiie?t? President I have not yet been able to submit it to 
isSt^'wi'E. him. The brilliant result of the energetic action in 
p.' 648. " the West fills the nation with joy." 

Encouraged by this friendly tone from the Sec- 
retary of War, Halleck ventured a final appeal: 
" One whole week has been lost akeady by hesi- 
tation and delay. There was, and I think there 
still is, a golden opportunity to strike a fatal blow, 
but I can't do it unless I can control Buell's army. 
I am perfectly willing to act as Gleneral McClellan 
dictates or to take any amount of responsibility. 


To succeed "we must be prompt. I have explained ch. xvm. 
everything to General McClellan and Assistant 
Secretary Scott. There is not a moment to be lost. Stanton" 
Q-ive me authority, and I will be responsible for m%^'^]'-R. 
results." Doubtless HaUeck felt that the Fates were s'.m. '' 
against him, for the reply chilled his hngering 
hopes : " Tour telegram of yesterday, together with 
Mr. Scott's reports, have this morning been sub- 
mitted to the President, who, after full considera- 
tion of the subject, does not think any change in 
the organization of the army or the military de- 
partments at present advisable. He desires and 
expects you and General Buell to cooperate fully to^Haneok, 
and zealously with each other, and would be glad ism^'^w.^e. 
to know whether there has been any failure of p.'esi ' 
cooperation in any particular." 

Mr. Lincoln had been watching by the bedside 
of his dying son, and in his overwhelming grief 
probably felt disinchned to touch this new vexation 
of mihtary selfishness — a class of questions from 
which he always shrank with the utmost distaste ; 
besides, we shall see in due time how the Presi- 
dent's momentary decision turned upon much more 
comprehensive changes already in contemplation. 
Before McCleUan's refusal to enlarge Halleck's 
command he had indicated that his judgment and 
feelings were with Buell. Thus he telegraphed the 
latter on February 20: "HaUeck says Columbus 
Teenforced from New Orleans, and steam up on 
their boats ready for move — probably on Cairo. 
Wishes to withdraw some troops from Donelson. 
I tell him improbable that rebels [are] reenforced 
from New Orleans or attack Cairo. Think [they] 
will abandon Columbus. . . How soon can you be 


ch. xvm. in front of Nashville, and in what force ? What 
news of the rebels ? If the force in West can take 

^SBueSr Nashville, or even hold its own for the present, I 

im^w^. hope to have Eichmond and Norfolk in from three 
p.' 640. " to four weeks." He sent a similar dispatch to Hal- 
leck, in which he pointed out Nashville as the 
pressing objective. "Buell has gone to Bowling 
Green. I will be in communication with him in a 
few minutes, and we will then arrange. The fall of 
Clarksville confirms my views. I think Cairo is not 
in danger, and that we must now direct our efforts 
on Nashville. The rebels hold firm at Manassas. 
In less than two weeks I shall move the Army of 
the Potomac, and hope to be in Richmond soon 

Mccieiian after you are in NashviUe. I think Columbus will 

to Halleck, •' 

18^2?^ wI'r. ^® abandoned within a week. We will have a des- 
ppf eifwi. perate battle on this line." 

While the three generals were discussing high 
strategy and grand campaigns by telegraph, and 
probably deliberating with more anxiety the pos- 
sibilities of personal fame, the simple soldiering of 
Grant and Foote was solving some of the problems 
that confused scientific hypothesis. They quietly 
occupied ClarksviUe, which the enemy abandoned ; 
and even while preparing to do so. Grant suggested 
to cSilL, ^^ ^is dispatch of February 19, "If it is the desire 
18^!'' wI'e. of the general commanding department, I can have 
^pl'el"'' Nashville on Saturday week." Foote repeated the 
suggestion in a dispatch of February 21, but the 
coveted permission did not come in time. 

Meanwhile Buell, having gone to Bowling Green 
to push forward his railroad bridge, and hearing 
of the fall of Clarksville and the probable abandon- 
ment of Nashville, moved on by forced marches 


witli a single division, reaching the Cumberland ch. xviii. 
opposite the city on the 25th. The enemy had 
burned the bridge and he could not cross ; but 
almost simultaneously he witnessed the arrival 
of steamboats bringing G-eneral Nelson's division, 
which immediately landed and occupied the place. 
This oflS.cer and his troops, after several varying 
orders, were finally sent up the Cumberland to 
Grant, and ordered forward by him to occupy 
Nashville and join BueU. It was a curious illus- 
tration of dramatic justice that the struggle of the 
generals over the capture of the place should end 
in the possession of NashviUe by the troops of 
BueU under the orders of Grant, whose name had 
not once been mentioned by the contending com- 

For a few days succeeding the occupation of 
NashviUe news and rumors of what the rebels were 
doing were very conflicting, and none of the Union 
commanders suggested any definite campaign. On 
February 26 Halleck ordered preparations for a 
movement up either the Tennessee or the Cumber- 
land, as events might require ; but for two days 
he could not determine which. Finally, on the 1st 
of March, he sent distinct orders to Grant to com- 
mand an expedition up the Tennessee River, to 
destroy the raUroad and cut the telegraph at East- 
port, Corinth, Jackson, and Humboldt. This was 
to be, not a permanent army advance, but a tem- 
porary raid by gunboats and troops on transports ; ^cSln^*" 
aU of which, after effecting what local destruction i8^^'"w/e. 
they could, were to return — the whole movement ^p.' S^' 
being merely auxiliary to the operations then in 
progress against New Madrid and Island No. 10, 





to Halleck, 


\)j Stanton, 

March 3, 

1862. W. E. 

Vol. VII., 

p. 680. 


to Grant, 

Marcli 13, 

1862. W. E. 

Vol. X., 

Part II., 

p. 32. 

designed to hasten the fall of Columbus. It turned 
out that the preparations could not be made as 
quickly as Halleck had hoped; the delay arising, not 
from the fault or neglect of any oflicer, but mainly 
from the prevailing and constantly increasing floods 
in the Western vs^aters, and especially from damage 
to telegraph lines that seriously hindered the prompt 
transmission of communications and orders. Out 
of this latter condition there also grew the episode 
of a serious misunderstanding between HaUeck and 
Grant, which threatened to obscure the new and 
brilliant fame which the latter was earning. 

Only a moment of vexation and ill-temper can 
account for the harsh accusation Halleck sent to 
Washington, that Orant had left his post without 
leave, that he had failed to make reports, that he 
and his army were demoralized by the Donelson 
victory. Keply came back that generals must ob- 
serve discipline as well as privates. " Do not hesi- 
tate to arrest him [Grant] at once," added McClellan, 
" if the good of the service requires it, and place 
C. F. Smith in command." Halleck immediately 
acted on the suggestion, ordered Grant to remain 
at Fort Henry, and gave the proposed Tennessee 
expedition to Smith. Grant obeyed, and at first 
explained, with an admirable control of temper, 
that he had not been in fault. Later on, however, 
feeling himself wronged, he several times asked to 
be relieved from duty. By this time Halleck was 
convinced that he had unjustly accused Grant and 
as peremptorily declined to relieve him, and ordered 
him to resume his former general command. " In- 
stead of relieving you," he added, " I wish you, as 
soon as your new army is in the field, to assume 


the immediate command and lead it on to new vie- ch. xviii. 
tories." In truth, while neither general had been 
unjust by intention, both had been blamable in 
conduct. Grant violated technical discipline in 
leaving his command without permission; Halleck, 
with undue haste, preferred an accusation which 
further information proved to be groundless. It is 
to the credit of both that they dismissed the incip- 
ient quarrel and with new zeal and generous con- 
fidence immediately joined in public service. 

While the Grant-Halleck controversy and prepa- 
rations for the Tennessee River expedition were in 
progress, the military situation was day by day 
slowly defining itself, though as yet without very 
specific action or conclusion. BueU, becoming satis- 
fled that the enemy had no immediate intention to 
return and attack him at Nashville, inquired, on 
March 3, of Halleck : " What can I do to aid your 1862. 
operations against Columbus ? " To this Halleck re- 
plied on the 4th with the information that Columbus 
had been evacuated, and asked, "Why not come to 
the Tennessee and operate with me to cut Johnston's 
line with Memphis, Randolph, and New Madrid ? " 
Without committing himself definitely, BueU an- 
swered on the 6th, merely proposing that they 
should meet at Louisville to discuss details. Hal- 
leck, however, unable to spare the time, held 
tenaciously to his proposition, informing Assistant 
Secretary Scott, at Cairo, of the situation in these 
words : " I telegraphed to General BueU to reenforee 
me as strongly as possible at or near Savannah 
[Tennessee] . Their line of defense is now an oblique 
one, extending from Island No. 10 to Decatur or 
Chattanooga. Having destroyed the railroad and 


ch. XVIII. bridges in his rear, Johnston cannot return to Nash- 
-? A^^sJott, ville. We must again pierce his center at Savannah 
isM^"" w.'e. or Florence. Buell should move immediately, and 
Part n.', not come in too late, as he did at Donelson," 
^" ' Feeling instinctively that he could get no effective 

voluntary help from Buell, Halleck turned again to 
McClellan, informing him of his intended expedi- 
tion up the Tennessee Eiver ; that he had directed 
a landing to be made at Savannah ; that he had sent 
intrenching tools, and would push forward reen- 
f orcements as rapidly as possible. On the following 
day, however, reporting the strength of Grrant's 
forces, he said : " You will perceive from this that 
without Buell's aid I am too weak for operations on 
the Tennessee." The information received by him. 
during the next twenty-four hours, that Curtis had 
won a splendid victory at the battle of Pea Eidge 
in Arkansas, made a favorable change in his re- 
sources, and he explains his views and intentions to 
McCleUan with more confidence : 

Reserves intended to support General Curtis will now 
be drawn in as rapidly as possible and sent to the Tennes- 
see. I propose going there in a few days. That is now 
the great strategic line of the Western campaign, and I 
am surprised that General Buell should hesitate to reen- 
force me. He was too late at Fort Donelson, as Hunter 
has been in Arkansas. I am obliged to make my calcula- 
tions independent of both. Believe me, general, you make 
a serious mistake in having three independent commands 
in the West. There never will and never can be any 
cooperation at the critical moment ; aU military history 
proves it. You will regret your decision against me on 
Mccfenan! this point. Your friendship for individuals has influenced 
imI^^Vk. your judgment. Be it so. I shall soon fight a great battle 
Part fi" °^ *^® Tennessee unsupported, as it seems ; but if success- 
pp. 24, 25. ful, it will settle the campaign in the West. 


We may also conclude that another element of ch. xvm. 
the confidence that prompted his language was the 
intimation lately received from the Secretary of 
War, who three days before had asked him to state 
" the limits of a military department that would to Haueck, 

Maircli 7 

place all the Western operations you deem expedi- 1862. w. k 
ent under youi- command." In fact, events in the »• ^s". 
East as well as in the West were culminating, which 
rather suddenly ended existing military conditions. 
The naval battle between the Merrimac and the 
Monitor, and the almost simultaneous evacuation of 
Manassas Junction by the rebel forces in Virginia, 
broke the long inactivity of the Army of the Poto 
mac. We cannot better illustrate how intently Mr. 
Lincoln was watching army operations, both in the 
East and the West, than by quoting his dispatch of 
March 10 to Buell : " The evidence is very strong 
that the enemy in front of us here is breaking up Lincoln to 
and moving off. Greneral McClellan is after him. MScii^io, 
Some part of the force may be destined to meet you. yoi. x., ' 
Look out, and be prepared. I telegraphed HaUeek, p. 612.' 
asking him to assist you if needed." 

McClellan's aimless march to capture a few 
scarecrow sentinels and quaker guns in the deserted 
rebel field-works, which had been his nightmare for 
half a year, afforded the opportunity for a redistri- 
bution of military leaderships, which the winter's 
experience plainly dictated. Slow and cautious in 
maturing his decisions. President Lincoln was Lincoln 
prompt to announce them when they were once March n, 
reached. On the 11th of March he issued his War ''volI".^ 

Part II 

Order No. 3, one of his most far-reaching acts of pp. 28, 29. 
military authority. It relieved McClellan from the 
duties of general-in-chief of all the armies, and sent 


ch. xvm. him to tlie field cliarged with the single object of 
conducting the campaign against Richmond. This 
made possible a new combination for the West, and 
the same order united the three Western depart- 
ments (as far East as Knoxville, Tennessee) under 
the command of Halleck. Under this arrangement 
was fought the great battle on the Tennessee 
that Halleck predicted, giving the Union arms a 
victory the decisive influence of which was felt 
throughout the remainder of the war; a success, 
however, due mainly to the gallantry of the troops, 
and not to any genius or brilliant generalship of 
Halleck or his subordinate commanders. 
The Tennessee Eiver expedition under Smith, 
1862. which started on March 10, made good its landing 
at Savannah, and on the 14th Smith sent Sherman 
with a division on nineteen steamboats, preceded 
by gunboats, to ascend the river towards Eastport 
and begin the work of destroying railroad com- 
munications, which had been the original object of 
the whole movement. Sherman made a landing to 
carry out his orders ; but this was the season of 
spring freshets — a storm of rain and snow changed 
every ravine and rivulet to a torrent ; the Tennes- 
see Eiver rose fifteen feet in twenty-four hours, 
covering most steamboat landings with deep water; 
and the intended raid by land and water was re- 
duced to a mere river reconnaissance, which proved 
the enemy to be in considerable force about luka 
and Corinth, covering and guarding the important 
railroad crossings and communications. Sherman 
felt himseK compelled to return to Pittsburg Land- 
ing, on the west bank of the Tennessee, nine miles 
above Savannah, which was on the east bank. The 


place was already well-known to both armies, for ch. xviii. 
a skirmisli had occurred there on the 1st of March 
between Union gunboats and a rebel regiment. 

It would seem that Q-eneral Smith had fixed up- 
on Pittsburg Landing as an available point from 
which to operate more at leisure upon the enemy's 
railroad communications, and hence had sent Hurl- 
but's division thither, which Sherman found there 
on his return. The place was not selected as a 
battlefield, nor as a base of operations for a cam- 
paign, but merely to afford a temporary lodgment 
for raids upon the railroads. By a silent and grad- 
ual change of conditions, however, the intention 
and essential features of the whole Tennessee Eiver 
movement underwent a transformation. What was 
begun as a provisional expedition became a stra- 
tegic central campaign; and what was chosen for 
an outpost of detachments was almost impercep- 
tibly turned into a principal point of concentra- 
tion, and became, by the unexpected assault of the 
enemy, one of the hardest-fought battlefields of 
the whole war. 

HaUeck assumed command of his combined de- voi. x., 
partments by general orders dated March 13, and p. ew." 
after explaining once more to Buell that all his 
available force not required to defend Nashville 
should be sent up the Tennessee, he telegraphed 
him on the 16th of March : " Move your forces by Haneon 
land to the Tennessee as rapidly as possible. . . Mareh'ie, 
Grant's army is concentrating at Savannah. You ^^voi. x., ' 

. Part II 

must du"ect your march on that point so that the p. 42. "' 
enemy cannot get between us." 

The combined campaign thus set in motion was 
wise in conception, but its preliminary execution 


ch. XVIII. proved lamentably weak ; and the blame is justly 
attributable, in about equal measure, to Halleck, 
Buell, and Grrant. For a few days Halleck's orders 
were decided and firm ; then there followed a slack- 
ening of opinion and a variance of direction that 
came near making a disastrous wreck of the whole 
enterprise. His positive orders to Buell to move 
as rapidly as possible and to concentrate at Savan- 
nah were twice repeated on the 17th ; but on the 
26th he directed him to concentrate at Savannah 
or Eastport, and on the 29th to concentrate at 
Savannah or Pittsburg, while on April 5 he point- 
edly consented to a concentration at Waynesbor- 
ough. This was inexcusable uncertainty in the 
combinations of a great strategist, who complained 
that "hesitation and delay are losing us the golden 
opportunity." These were not the firm strides of a 
leader who promised to " split secession in twain in 
one month." 

It can hardly be claimed that Buell's march ful- 
filled the injunction to move " as rapidly as pos- 
sible." When his advanced division reached Duck 
River at Columbia on the 18th it found that stream 
swoUen and the bridge destroyed, and set itself to 

Bueuto *^® *^^^ ^^ building a new frame bridge with a 

March^li deliberateness better befitting the leisure of peace 
"vol. x'.,^' tlian the pressing hurry of war. Buell arrived in 

^p^*7"" person at Columbia on the 26th. He manifested 
his own dissatisfaction with the delay by ordering 
the construction of another bridge, this time of 
pontoons, which was completed simultaneously 
with the first on March 30. StiU further delay was 
projected by a proposition to halt for concentration 
at Waynesborough. It must be said in justice to 


Buell, that Halleck did not complain of the slow ch. xviii. 
bridge-building at Columbia, and that he consented 
to the concentration at Waynesborough. Had it 
taken place, Buell's army would again have been 
" too late " for a great battle. The excuse offered, 
that Buell supposed the Union army to be safe on 
the east bank of the Tennessee at Savannah, can 
scarcely be admitted; for on the 23d Buell received 
a letter from Grant which said: "I am massing 
troops at Pittsburg, Tennessee. There is every Grant to 
reason to suppose that the rebels have a large force March 19, 
at Corinth, Mississippi, and at many other points on voi. x., ' 
the road towards Decatur." The bridges over Duck p- «. ' 
River were finished on the 30th. Meanwhile, G-en- ^„,men, 
eral William Nelson had obtained permission to March^27, 
ford the now falling stream with his division in v6i. x., ' 

JPart I 

order to " have the advance and get the glory." pp. 329, 330. 
Since HaUeck's dispatches had by this time lost 
their tone of urgency, and their definiteness of di- 
rection, BueU's army pursued its moderate march; 
Nelson's advance division reaching Savannah on 
the 5th of April, and others on the 6th. 

It reflects no credit on Greneral HaUeck or Gren- 
eral Grant that, during the interim of Buell's march, 
the advanced post of Pittsburg Landing had been 
left in serious peril. Halleck was busy at St. 
Louis collecting reenforcements to send to Grant, 
with the announced intention to proceed to the 
field and take personal command on the Tennessee 
River. This implied a delay demanding either the 
concentration of the whole army at Savannah, as 
originally ordered by him, behind the safe barrier 
of the Tennessee, or strong fortifications for the 
exposed position of Pittsburg Landing, on the west 




bank. On the other hand, Grant, resuming his 
general command in person on March 17,-and find- 
ing his five divisions separated, three at Savannah 
and two at Pittsburg Landing,— nine miles apart, 
with a river between them,— properly took alarm 
and immediately united them; but in doing this 
he committed the evident fault of defying danger 
by choosing the advanced position and of neglect- 
ing to raise the shghtest intrenchments to protect 
his troops — which were without means of rapid 
retreat — against a possible assault from an enemy 
only twenty miles distant, and according to his 
own reports at all times his equal if not his superior 
to jMi'eV in numbers. Indeed, in one of his dispatches he 
i8^^"w/r- reports the numbers of the enemy at 80,000, a force 
^p!*9?'' at least double his own. But one cause can be 
assigned for this palpable imprudence. WeU in- 
structed in the duties of an officer under orders, he 
was just beginning his higher education as a leader 
of armies, and he was about to receive the most 
impressive lesson of his life. 

It has been already stated that after the faU of 
Fort Donelson the rebel commanders fied south- 
ward in confusion and dismay. We have the high 
authority and calm judgment of Greneral Grant, 
in the mature experience and refiection of after 
years, that " if one general who would have taken 
the responsibility had been in command of all 
Grant, the troops wcst of the Alleghanies, he could 
MeSoirs." have marched to Chattanooga, Corinth, Memphis, 
p. 317'.' and Vicksburg with the troops we then had " ; 
but the secessionists of the Southwest recovered 
rapidly from the stupefaction of unexpected dis- 
aster. In the delay of four or five weeks that the 


divided ambition and over-cautious hesitation of ch. xvm. 
the Union generals afforded them, they had re- 
newed their courage, and united and reenforced 
their scattered armies. The separation of the 
armies of Johnston from those of Beauregard, 
which seemed irreparable when the Tennessee 
River was opened, had not been maintained by the 
prompt advance that everybody pointed out, but 
which nobody executed. By the 23d of March the 
two Confederate generals had, without opposition, 
effected a junction of their forces at and about 
Corinth, and thus reversed the pending military 
problem. In the last weeks of February it could 
have been the united Unionists pursuing the di- 
vided Confederates. In the last weeks of March 
it was the united Confederates preparing to attack 
the divided armies of Halleck and BueU. The 
whole situation and plan is summed up in the dis- 
patch of General Albert Sidney Johnston to Jef- 
ferson Davis, dated AprU 3, 1862 : " General BueU 
is in motion, 30,000 strong, rapidly from Columbia 
by Clifton to Savannah ; Mitchel behind him with 
10,000. Confederate forces, 40,000, ordered for- 
ward to offer battle near Pittsburg. Division from 
Bethel, main body from Corinth, reserve from 
Burnsville converge to-morrow near Monterey on joimaton 
Pittsburg. Beauregard second in command ; Polk, a^uIs? 
left ; Hardee, center ; Bragg, right wing ; Breekin- "voi. x.,^' 
ridge, reserve. Hope engagement before BueU can pfss?. " 
form junction." 

The Confederate march took place as projected, 

and on the evening of April 5 their joint forces 

went into bivouac two miles from the Union camps. 

That evening the Confederate commanders held 

Vol. v.— 21 


ch. xviri. an informal conference. Beauregard became im- 
pressed witli impending defeat; their march, had 
been slow, the rations they carried were exhausted, 
and their extra rations and ammunition were not 
yet at hand. They could no longer hope to effect 
the complete surprise that was an essential feature 
of their plan. Beauregard advised a change of 
programme — to abandon the projected attack and 
convert the movement into a "reconnaissance in 
force." General Johnston listened, but refused his 
assent, and orders were given to begin the battle 
Grant uext momiug. No suspicion of such a march or 
''ap^u^s! ' attack entered the mind of any Union officer ; and 
Vol. X., ■ that same day G-rant reported to Halleck, " The 

Part II., . •' ■ n ■ 1 

p- 9*- main force of the enemy is at Corinth." 

The natural position occupied by the Union 
forces is admitted to have been unusually strong. 
The Tennessee River here runs nearly north. North 
of the camps, Snake Creek with an affluent, Owl 
Creek, formed a barrier stretching from the river 
bank in general direction towards the southwest. 
South of the camps. Lick Creek and river sloughs 
also formed an impassable obstruction for a con- 
siderable distance next to the Tennessee. The river 
on the east, and Snake and Owl creeks on the west, 
thus inclosed a high triangular plateau with sides 
three or four miles in length, crossed and intersected 
to some extent by smaller streams and ravines, 
though generally open towards the south. The 
roads from Pittsburg Landing towards Corinth fol- 
lowed the main ridge, also towards the southwest. 
A network of other roads, very irregular in direc- 
tion, ran from the Corinth roads to various points 
in the neighborhood. Alternate patches of timber. 


thick undergrowtli, and open fields covered tiie ch. xviu. 
locality. Over two miles in a straight line, or 
nearly three by the roads, southwest from Pitts- 
burg Landing, stood a log meeting-house, called 
Shiloh Church, which was destined to give its 
name to the conflict. 

Five of Grant's divisions were camped on this 
triangular plateau, not with any view of defense 
against an attack, but mainly with reference to 
convenience while there, and for a later movement 
upon Corinth. An advance line about three miles 
long between Lick Creek and Owl Creek, if by 
courtesy we call it a line, was only partly occu- 
pied, and none of the regiments on this front had 
ever been under fire. Three brigades of Brigadier- 
G-eneral W. T. Sherman's division filled, in a desul- 
tory way, the space from Owl Creek bridge to a 
point some distance beyond Shiloh Church. South 
and eastward near half a mile rested the right of 
Brigadier-Greneral B. M. Prentiss's diAdsion of seven 
regiments, entirely raw, only recently arrived, more 
recently armed, and one without ammunition. To 
the left and rear of this embryo division there was 
another large interval of nearly a mile where was 
Colonel David Stuart's brigade of three regiments. 
It belonged to Sherman's division, but had at the 
time of landing been thus located upon the Ham- 
burg road, two miles away from its division com- 
mander, to watch the fords in that quarter ; at the 
time of the battle it formed the extreme left of the 
army. Between this front line and Pittsburg Land- 
ing were camped two other divisions: Major-General 
John A. McClernand's from a half to three-quarters 
of a mUe in the rear of the right center, and that 


ch. XVIII. of Brigadier-General S. A. Hurlbut about one mile 
in rear of the left center. In the rear of all these, 
and north of the road which ran due west from the 
Landing, was Smith's division, then commanded 
by Brigadier-General W. H. L. Wallace. In these 
divisions were many of the veterans of Belmont 
and Donelson, and they were the only ones upon 
the field who had stood the test of battle. StiU 
another division, under General Lew. Wallace, had 
been left at Crump's Landing, six miles to the north, 
as a guard against rebel raids, which threatened to 
gain possession of the banks of the Tennessee at 
Grant to that potat to destroy the river communications. 
^Aprif*"' Grant had apprehensions of a raid of this character 

1862 W R 

Vol. x"., ■ and cautioned his officers against it, causing such 
p. 91. " vigilance as had existed for several days. 

Most of the particulars of the battle that followed 
will probably always form a subject of dispute. 
There were no combined or dramatic movements 
of masses that can be analyzed and located. The 
Union army had no prepared line of defense ; three 
lines in which the rebel army had been arranged 
for the attack became quickly broken and mingled 
with one another. On the Union side the wide 
gaps between the camps, their irregular alignment, 
and the rapidity of the attack compelled the forma- 
tion of whatever line of battle could be most hur- 
riedly improvised by each separate corps or detach- 
ment. General Force says : " A combat made up 
of numberless separate encounters of detached 
portions of broken lines, continually shifting posi- 
M.F. Force, tioii and changing direction in the forest and across 
Port nSiry raviucs, filling an entire day, is almost incapable of 

toCorintli," , -, , • .. 

p. 124. a connected narrative." 


At five o'clock in the morning of Sunday, AprU 6, ch. xviir. 
1862, the rebel lines moved forward to the attack. 
The time required to pass the intervening two 
miles, and the preliminary skirmishes with Union 
pickets and a reconnoitering Union regiment that 
began the fight, gradually put the whole Union 
front on the alert ; and when the main lines closed 
with each other, the divisions of Prentiss and Sher- 
man were sufficiently in position to offer a stub- 
born resistance, and thus enabled reenforeements 
to come to their support from the other divisions. 
The Confederates found themselves foUed in the 
easy surprise and confusion that they had counted 
upon. It would be a tedious waste of time to at- 
tempt to follow the details of the fight, which, begun 
before sunrise, continued till near sunset. 

Along the labyrinth of the local roads, over the 
mixed patchwork of woods, open fields, and almost 
impenetrable thickets, across stretches of level, 
broken by miry hollows and abrupt ravines, the 
swinging lines of conflict moved intermittently 
throughout the entire day. There was onset and 
repulse, yeU of assault and cheer of defiance, 
screeching of shells and sputtering of volleys, ad- 
vance and retreat. But steadily through the fluc- 
tuating changes the general progress was northward, 
the rebels gaining and pushing their advance, the 
Unionists stubbornly resisting, but little by little 
losing ground. It was like the flux and reflux of 
ocean breakers, dashing themselves with tireless 
repetition against a yielding, crumbling shore. 
Beauregard, to whom the Confederate commander 
on going to the front had committed the duties of 
general headquarters, advanced with the general 


ch. xvin. staff to Shiloh. Church, near which stood General 
Sherman's headquarters' tent. The time consumed 
and the lists of dead and wounded are sufficient 
evidence of the brave conduct of officers and the 
gallant courage of men on both sides. On the Union 
side the divisions of Hurlbut and W. H. L. Wallace 
had early been brought forward to sustain those of 
Sherman, McClernand, and Prentiss. It was, to a 
degree seldom witnessed in a battle, the slow and 
sustained struggle, through an entire day, of one 
whole army against another whole army. The five 
Union divisions engaged in the battle of Sunday 
numbered 33,000.^ The total force of the Con- 
federates attacking them was 40,000. 

It was in the afternoon that the more noteworthy 
incidents of the contest took place. The first of 
these was the death of the Confederate commander, 
G-eneral Albert Sidney Johnston, who fell in front 

Api. 6, 1862. of Hurlbut between two and three o'clock, while 
personally leading the charge of a brigade. The 
knowledge of the loss was carefully kept from the 
Confederate army, and the headquarters manage- 
ment on their side of the conflict was not therefore 

1 Througliout the history of the book, " From Fort Henry to 

War of the Rebellion there is a Corinth,'' analyzes these methods 

marked disagreement in the es- of computation as applied to the 

timates of numbers engaged in battle of Shiloh, and arrives at 

battles, as stated by the Union- the conclusion that the actual 

ists on one side and the Confeder- number of " combatants en- 

ates on the other. This variance gaged in the battle " of Sunday 

comes from a different manner was fully 40,000 Confederates 

of reporting those "present for and between 32,000 and 33,000 

duty" in the two armies, out of Unionists. 

which arises a systematic diminu- " The reenforcements of Mon- 

Force, ^^on of Confederates and increase day numbered, of Buell's army, 

Fort H^rv °^ federals in the statements of about 20,000 ; Lew. Wallace's, 

toCorinth," Confederate writers. General 6500; and other regiments, 

pp. 179, 180. Force, in his admirable little about 1400." 


impaired, because Beauregard had been mainly in- ch. xviii. 
trusted with it from the beginning. It has been 
mentioned that Stuart's brigade of three regiments 
was posted at the extreme left of the Union front ; 
and although its right regiment quickly became de- 
moralized and disappeared, the remaining two, not 
being as yet hard pressed, had, with some change of 
position towards the rear, held their place till about 
noon. From that time until two o'clock they bravely 
maintained their ground against sharp attacks from 
superior forces. After severe loss they were also 
driven back, but their gallant resistance materially 
retarded the enemy's advance next to the Tennessee 
River. About five o'clock in the afternoon a seri- Api. e, 1862. 
ous loss fell upon the Unionists. General Prentiss, 
commanding the Sixth Division, and General W. 
H. L. Wallace, commanding the Second Division, 
whose united lines had held one of the key-points 
of the Federal left center against numerous and 
well-concentrated assaults of the enemy, found that 
the withdrawal of troops both on the right and the 
left produced gaps that offered openings to the 
enemy. Prentiss had been instructed by General 
Grant to hold his position at all hazards, and con- 
sulting with Wallace they determined to obey the 
order notwithstanding the now dangerous exposure; 
but the enemy seizing the advantage, they quickly 
found themselves enveloped and surrounded ; only 
portions of their command succeeded in cutting 
their way out ; Wallace was mortally wounded, and 
Prentiss and fragments of the two divisions, num- 
bering 2200 men, were taken prisoner. 

This wholesale capture left a wide opening in the 
left of the Federal lines, and probably would have 


ch. XVIII. given the victory to the rebels but for another 
circumstance which somewhat compensated for 
so abrupt a diminution of the Union forces. The 
Union lines had now been swept back more than a 
mile and a half, and the rebel attack was approach- 
ing the main road, running from Pittsburg Landing 
along the principal ridge, which here lay nearly at 
a right angle to the river. Colonel J. D. Webster 
of General G-rant's staff, noting the steady retreat 
of the Union lines and foreseeing that the advan- 
cing attack of the enemy would eventually reach this 
ridge, busied himself to post a line of artillery — from 
thirty-five to fifty guns — along the crest, gather- 
ing whatever was available, among which were 
several siege pieces. To man and support this 
extemporized battery he organized and posted, in 
conjunction with Hurlbut's division, such fragments 
of troops as had become useless at the front. To 
reach the crest of this I'idge and this line of hastily 
planted cannon the enemy was obhged to cross a 
deep, broad hollow, extending to the river and partly 
filled with back-water. The topography of the place 
was such that the gunboats Tyler and Lexington 
were also stationed in the Tennessee, abreast the 
valley and sheet of back-water, and their guns were 
thus enabled to assist the line of cannon on the 
ridge by a cross-fire of shells. 

General Grant had passed the night of April 5 
at Savannah, where he had become aware of the 
arrival of the advance brigades of Nelson's division 
of Buell's army on the same day. He started by 
boat to Pittsburg Landing early Sunday morning, 
April 6, having heard the firing but not regarding 
it as an attack in force. Arrived there he became 


a witness of the serious nature of the attack, and ch. xviii. 
remained on the battlefield, visiting the various 
division commanders and giving such orders as the 
broken and fluctuating course of the conflict sug- 
gested. But the defense, begun in uncertainty and 
haste before his arrival, could not thereafter be 
reduced to any order or system ; it necessarily, all 
day long, merely followed the changes and the 
violence of the rebel attack. The bUnd and intricate 
battlefield offered little chance for careful planning; 
the haste and tumult of combat left no time for 
tactics. On neither side could the guidance of gen- 
eral command render the usual service ; it was the 
division, brigade, and regimental commanders who 
fought the battle. About noon'of Sunday, General Api. e, 1862. 
Grant began to have misgivings of the result, and 
dispatched a letter for help to BueU's forces at Sa- 
vannah, saying, "If you will get upon the field, 
leaving all your baggage on the east bank of the 
river, it will be a move to our advantage, and pos- 
sibly save the day to us." He also sent an order 
to General Lew. Wallace, at Crump's Landing, to 
hasten his division to the right of the army. 

So far as the Confederates had any distinct plan 
of battle, it was merely the simple one of forcing 
the Federals away from the river to gain posses- 
sion of Pittsburg Landing, cut off their means of 
retreat by seizing or destroying the transports, 
and compel Grant to capitulate. But the execution 
of this leading design was completely frustrated 
by the difficult nature of the ground and the gal- 
lant resistance of the Federal left. The principal 
advance made by the rebels was not next to the 
river, where they desired it, but on the Union right 


ch. xvin. next to Owl Creek, where it was of least value. 
Even after they had captured the whole residue of 
Prentiss's and Wallace's divisions, and had cleared 
out that terrible center of the Union fire which 
they had ineffectually assaulted a dozen times, and 
which by bitter experience they themselves learned 
to know and designate as the " Hornets' nest," 
and near which their commander had fallen in 
death, they were not yet within reach of the cov- 
eted banks of Pittsburg Landing. Before them 
was stUl a line of steep hUls, separated from them 
by the broad valley, the back-water, the mire, across 
which screeched the shells from the gunboats and 
from the long death-threatening line of Webster's 
reserve artillery, behind which the bayonets of 
Hurlbut's division, yet solid in organization and 
strong in numbers, glinted in the evening sun. 
From Hurlbut's right the shattered but courageous 
remnants of the divisions of McClernand and Sher- 
man stretched away in an unbroken line towards 
Owl Creek. Ground had been lost and ground had 
been won ; the line of fire had moved a mile and a 
half to the north ; the lines of combatants had been 
shortened from three miles in the morning to one 
mile in the evening ; but now, after the day's con- 
flict, when the sun approached his setting, the rela- 
tions and the prospects of the bloody fight were but 
little changed. The Confederates held the field of 
battle, but the Unionists held their central position, 
their supplies, and their communication s. The front 
of attack had become as weak as the front of defense. 
On each side from eight to ten thousand men had 
been lost, by death, wounds, and capture. From 
ten to fifteen thousand panic-stricken Union strag- 


glers cowered under the shelter of the high river ch. xviii. 
bank at Pittsbui'g Landing. From ten to fifteen 
thousand Confederate stragglers, some equally 
panic-stricken, others demoralized by the irresisti- 
ble temptations of camp-pillage, encumbered the 
rear of Beauregard's army. The day was nearly 
gone and the battle was undecided. 

A controversy has recently arisen as to the per- 
sonal impressions and intentions of General Grant 
at this crisis. His "Memoirs" declare in substance 
that he was still so confident of victory that he 
gave orders that evening for a renewal of the fight 
on the following morning by a general attack. .?^*J}.^^ 
General Buell, on the other hand, makes a strong Leaders 
argument that the evidence is against this assump- dyu ^ar." 
tion. It is possible, as in so many other cases, p. 523"e(»W. 
that the truth lies midway between the two state- 
ments. A famous newspaper correspondent, who 
was on the battlefield, made the following record 
of the affair long before this controversy arose: 
"The tremendous roar to the left, momentarily 
nearer and nearer, told of an effort to cut him off 
from the river and from retreat. Grant sat his 
horse, quiet, thoughtful, almost stolid. Said one 
to him, 'Does not the prospect begin to look 
gloomy ? ' ' Not at all,' was the quiet reply. 
' They can't force our lines around these batteries 
to-night — it is too late. Delay counts everything 
with us. To-morrow we shaU attack them with 
fresh troops and drive them, of course.'" The 
correspondent adds, in a note : " I was myself a ^hiteiaw 
listener to this conversation, and from it I date, in "^mo 
my own case at least, the beginning of any belief civu war." 
in Grant's greatness." As this writer was one of p. 376.' 


CH. XVIII. Grant's most candid critics, his testimony on this 
point is all the more valuable. 

The turning-point was at length reached. What- 
ever may have been the much-disputed intentions 
and hopes of commanders at that critical juncture 
that were not expressed and recorded, or what 
might have been the possibilities and consequence 
of acts that were not attempted, it is worse than 
useless to discuss upon hypothesis. Each reader 
for himself must interpret the significance of the 

Api. 6, 1862. three closing incidents of that momentous Sunday, 
which occurred almost simultaneously. Some of 
the rebel division commanders, believing that vic- 
tory would be insured by one more desperate 
assault against the Union left to gain possession 
of Pittsburg Landing, made arrangements and 
gave orders for that object. It seems uncertain, 
however, whether the force could have been gath- 
ered and the movement made in any event. Only 
a single brigade made the attempt, and it was 
driven back in confusion. The officer of another 
detachment refused the desperate service. Still 
others were overtaken in their preparation by 
orders from General Beauregard to withdraw the 
whole Confederate army from the fight, and to go 
into bivouac until the following day. Eager as 
was that commander for victory, the conclusion 
had been forced on his mind, that, for that day 
at least, it was not within the power of his army 
to complete their undertaking ; and accordingly he 
directed that the fight should cease. He reached 
this determination not knowing that Buell had 
arrived, and still hoping that he would not arrive 
even on the morrow. 


In tMs liope Beauregard was disappointed. While ch. xviir. 
yet his orders to retire from the combat were being 
executed, and before the last desperate charge of 
the rebels towards Webster's reserve artillery was 
beaten back, the vanguard of Nelson's . division, 
which had marched from Savannah and had been 
ferried across the river by transports, was mounting 
the bank at Pittsburg Landing and deploying in Api. e, 1862. 
line of battle under the enemy's fire. Colonel Jacob 
Ammen's fresh brigade first coming to the support 
of the line of Union guns. A few men out of the 
brigade fell by the rebel bullets, and then came 
twilight, and soon after the darkness of night. The 
tide of victory was effectually turned. Whatever 
the single army of Grant might or might not have 
accomphshed on the following day against the army 
of Beauregard is only speculation. Beauregard's 
attack had been ordered discontinued before the 
actual presence of BueU's troops on the battlefield. 
Had the attack been continued, however, that 
opportune arrival would have rendered its success 

After sunset of Sunday all chances of a rebel 
victory vanished. The remainder of Nelson's divi- 
sion immediately crossed the river and followed 
Ammen's brigade to the field. Brigadier-Greneral 
T. L. Crittenden's division was next placed in posi- 
tion during the night. Finally Brigadier-General 
A. McD. McCook's division reached Pittsburg 
Landing early Monday morning and promptly ad- 
vanced to the front. General Buell, who had come 
before the vanguard on Sunday, in person directed 
the placing and preparation of these three superb 
divisions of his army — a total of about twenty 


CH. xvm. thousand fresh, well-equipped, and well-drilled 
troops — to renew an offensive conflict along the 
left of the Federal line. On the Federal right was 
stationed the fresh division of Greneral Lew. Wal- 
lace, numbering 5000, which had arrived from 
Crump's Landing a little after nightfall, and which 
took position soon after midnight of Sunday. Along 
the Federal right center. Grant's reduced divisions 
which had fought the battle of Sunday were gath- 
ered and reorganized, McClernand and Sherman in 
front, Hurlbut and remnants of W. H. L. Wallace's 
division, with some new detachments, in reserve. 

Grrant and Buell met on Sunday evening and 
agreed to take the offensive jointly on Monday 
morning ; Buell to command his three divisions on 
the left. Grant to direct his own forces on the right. 
No special plan was adopted other than simultane- 
ously to drive the enemy from the field. The plan 

Api. 7, 1862. was carried out in harmony and with entire success. 
With only temporary checks, brought about by the 
too great impetuosity of the newly arrived reen- 
forcements, the two wings of the Union army 
advanced steadily, and by three o'clock in the after- 
noon were in possession of all the ground from 
which they had been driven on the previous day ; 
while the rebel army was in full retreat upon Corinth 
— ^foiled of its victory, dejected in spirit, and in a 
broken and almost hopeless state of disorganization. 
A little more genius and daring on the part of the 
Union commanders would have enabled them by 
vigorous pursuit to demolish or capture it; but 
they chose the more prudent alternative, and re- 
mained satisfied with only sufficient advance to 
assure themselves that the enemy had disappeared. 


The statement of the Union losses at the battle ch. xviil 
of Shiloh, which has been compiled from official 
reports, is as foUows : In the army of Grant, 
1513 killed; 6601 wounded; and 2830 captured or 
missing. In the army of Buell, 241 killed; 1807 ^ ^ 
wounded; and 55 captured or missing. Partf.',' 

The Confederate loss is stated to have been 1728 ^^' m ^°^' 
killed ; 8012 wounded ; and 959 missing. 


halleck's coeinth campaign 

Chap. XIX. f~\^ Wednesday, April 9, two days after the 
V_/ battle of Shiloh, General Grant gave evidence 
that he had fully learned the severe lesson of that 
terrible encounter. Reporting to HaUeck his in- 
formation that the enemy was again concentrating 
all his forces at Corinth, he added : " I do not like 
to suggest, but it appears to me that it would be 
Grant to demoralizing upon our troops here to be forced to 
Apru"!; retire upon the opposite bank of the river, and un- 
voi. X., ■ safe to remain on this many weeks without large 
pp. 99, 100. reenforcements." 

Halleck's opinion probably coincided witli tbat 
of Grant, and the fortunes of war enabled him 
immediately to fulfill his promise to come to 
his relief. The day whicb saw the conclusion of 
the fight at Shiloh (April 7, 1862) witnessed the 
surrender of the rebel works at Island No. 10, 
on the Mississippi River, and the quick capture 
of nearly their entire garrison of 6000 or 7000 
men. This finished the task whicli General Pope 
had been sent to do, and enabled HaUeck to trans- 
fer him and his army, by water, from the Mis- 
sissippi River to the Tennessee. Halleck's order 



was made on April 15, and on the 22d Pope landed chap. xix. 
at Hamburg, four miles above tlie battlefield of 
Sbilob, with his compact force of 20,000 men fully 
organized and equipped, and flushed with a signal 
victory. Halleck had arrived before him. Reach- 
ing Pittsburg Landing on the 11th of April, he 
began with industry to cure the disorders produced 
by the recent battle. Critics who stiU accuse the 
Lincoln Administration of ignorant meddling with ^^^^^^^^ ^.^ 
military affairs are invited to remember the Ian- ^f^i"^; 
guage of the Secretary of War to Halleck on this ^^voi.^'.f ' 
occasion : " I have no instructions to give you. Go '^p!*9""' 
ahead, and all success attend you." 

The arrival of Pope was utilized by Halleck to 
give his united command an easy and immediate 
organization into army corps. His special field 
orders of April 28 named the Army of the Ten- 
nessee the First Army Corps, commanded by Grant, 
and constituting the right wing ; the Army of the 
Ohio the Second Army Corps, commanded by Buell, jjaueck 
and constituting the center; and the newly arrived A^ra^ii 
Army of the Mississippi the Third Army Corps, ^^voi. x'..^' 
commanded by Pope, and forming the left wing, ^pl^iss." 
Two days later (April 30) another order gave com- 
mand of the right wing to General Thomas, whose 
division of the Army of the Ohio was added to it ; 
it also organized a reserve corps under General Mc- 
Clernand, and had this provision : " Major-General 
Grant wUl retain the general command of the Dis- 
trict of West Tennessee, including the Army Corps ^^^^^^^ 
of the Tennessee, and reports will be made to him i^^f 30', 
as heretofore; but in the present movements he "voi.x'.f' 
will act as second in command under the major- ^p^iu." 
general commanding the department." 
Vol. v.— 22 


Chap. XIX. The Gxact intent of this assignment remains to 
this day a matter of doubt. Nominally, it ad- 
vanced Grant in rank and authority; practically, it 
deprived him of active and important duty. Hal- 
leck being on the field in person issued his orders 
directly to the corps commanders and received re- 
ports from them, and for about two months Grrant 
found himself without serious occupation. The 
position became so irksome that he several times 
asked to be relieved, but Halleck refused ; though 
he finally allowed him to go for a season into a 
species of honorable retirement, by removing his 
headquarters from the camp of the main army. 

Coming to the front so soon after the great 
battle, Halleck seems to have been impressed with 
the seriousness of the conflict, for all his prepara- 
tions to assume the offensive were made with the 
most deliberate caution. It was manifest that the 
enemy intended to defend Corinth, and necessarily 
that place became his first objective. With all the 
efforts that the Confederate Government could 
make, however, Beauregard succeeded in bring- 
ing together only about 50,000 effective troops. 
HaUeck's combined armies contained more than 
double that number; but such was his fear of 
another surprise, or a sudden disaster, that his 
advance upon Corinth was not like an invading 

Sherman to m^rch, but like the investment of a fortress. An 
^u\y a^' army carrying 100,000 bayonets, in the picturesque 

Vol.' xvii.; language of General Sherman, moved upon Corinth 
p. 83. " " with pick and shovel." Intrenchiag, bridge-build- 
ing, road-making, were the order of the day. For- 
mer carelessness and temerity were succeeded by 
a fettering over-caution. 

halleck's cobinth campaign 339 

The Administration expected more energetic chap.xix. 
campaigning from a commander of Halleck's re- 
puted skill and the brilliant results realized since 
his advent. The coimtry seemed at the culmina- 
tion of great events. Since the beginning of the 
year success had smiled almost continuously upon 
the Union cause. As the crowning inspiration, in 
the midst of his march there had come the joyful 
news of Farragut's triumph and the capture of New Haueckto 
Orleans. " Troops cannot be detached from here f^ri'w, 
on the eve of a great battle," telegraphed Halleck ^*voi. x'.f ' 
to Stanton. " We are now at the enemy's throat." pp.'\28, 129. 
To such encouraging assurances the Administra- 
tion responded with every possible exertion of 
reenforcement and supply. But days succeeded 
days, and the President's hope remained deferred. 
Nearly a month later, when reports came that Hal- 
leck was awaiting the arrival of a fourth Union 
army, — that of Curtis from Arkansas, — and these 
reports were supplemented by intimations that he 
would like to be joined by a fifth army from some- 
where else, Mr. Lincoln sent him a letter of such 
kindly explanation, that, in the actual condition 
of things, every word was a stinging rebuke : 

" Several dispatches from Assistant Secretary 
Scott, and one from Governor Morton, asking reen- 
forcements for you, have been received. I beg you 
to be assured we do the best we can. I mean to 
cast no blame when I tell you each of our com- 
manders along our line from Richmond to Corinth 
supposes himself to be confronted by numbers su- 
perior to his own. Under this pressure we thinned 
the line on the upper Potomac, until yesterday it 
was broken at heavy loss to us and General Banks 

Lincoln to 


CHAP. XIX. put in great peril, out of which he is not yet extri- 
cated and may be actually captured. We need 
men to repair this breach, and have them not at 
hand. My dear general, I feel justified to rely 
Sly^?!; very much on you. I beheve you and the brave 

^^voi. x.^ officers and men with you can and will get the vic- 

vp-^mMi- tory at Corinth." In reply Halleck resorted to the 
usual expedient of reading the Secretary of War a 
military lecture. May 25 he wrote: "Permit me 

Halleck to *^ remark that we are operating upon too many 
May*^"' points. Eichmond and Corinth are now the great 

*^oi. x'.!^ strategical points of war, and our success at these 
^^^67:' points should be insured at all hazards." 

His herculean effort expended itself without cor- 
responding result, when, a week later, he marched 
into the empty intrenchments of Corinth, only to 
find that the fifty thousand men composing Beau- 
regard's army — the vital strength of rebellion in 
the West — were retreating at leisure to Baldwin 
and Okolona, raiboad towns some fifty miles to 
the south. It had required but two days for the 
rebel army to go from Corinth to the Shiloh battle- 
field. Halleck consumed thirty-seven days to pass 
over the same distance and the same ground, with 
an army twice as strong as that of his adversary. 
Pope had reached him April 22, and it was the 
29th of May when the Union army was within 
assaulting distance of the rebel intrenchments. 
The campaign had advanced with scientific pre- 
cision, and attained one object for which it was 
conducted : it gained the fortifications of Corinth. 
In the end, however, it proved to be but the 
shell of the expected victory. Beauregard had 
not only skillfully disputed the advance and de- 


ceived his antagonist, but at the critical moment chap.xix. 
had successfully withdrawn the rebel forces to 
wage more equal conflict on other fields. The 
enemy evacuated Corinth on the night of the 29th, May, isea. 
and beyond the usual demoralization which attends 
such a retrograde movement suffered little, for 
Halleck ordered only pursuit enough to drive him 
to a convenient distance. The achievement was the 
triumph of a strategist, not the success of a gen- 
eral. Instead of seizing his opportunity to win a 
great battle or to capture an army by siege, he had 
simply manoeuvred the enemy out of position. 

In reporting his success to Washington, Halleck 
of course magnified its value to the utmost,^ and 
for the moment the Administration, not having 
that full information which afterwards so seriously 
diminished the estimate, accepted the report in 
good faith as a grand Union triumph. It was 
indeed a considerable measure of success. Besides 

1 "Pope, condensing into one sand men are thus scattered about 
dispatches received from Eose- who will come in within a day or 
crans, Hamilton, and Granger, two.' General Halleck dispatched 
telegraphed to Halleck: 'The to the War Department :' General 
two divisions in the advance un- Pope, with 40,000 men, is thirty 
der Eosecrans are slowly and miles south of Corinth, pushing 
cautiously advancing on Baldwin the enemy hard. He already re- 
this morning, with the cavalry ports 10,000 prisoners and desert- 
on both flanks. Hamilton with ers from the enemy, and 15,000 
two divisions is at Eienzi and he- stands of arms captured.' This 
tween there and Boonville, ready dispatch of General Halleok's 
to move forward should they he made a great sensation. The 
needed. One brigade from the expectation that the stragglers 
reserve occupies Danville. Eose- would come into the National 
crans reports this morning that camp was disappointed ; the pris- 
the enemy has retreated from oners taken were few, and Pope 
Baldwin, but he is advancing was censured for making a state- 
cautiously. The woods, for miles, ment of fact which he neither 
are full of stragglers from the made nor authorized." Force, 
enemy, who are coming in in "From Port Henry to Corinth," 
squads. Not less than ten thou- pp. 190, 191. 


Chap. XIX. its Valuable moral effect in strengthening the 
patriotism and confidence of the North, and the 
secondary militaiy advantage that the combined 
Western armies gained in the two months' strict 
camp discipline and active practical instruction in 
the art of field fortification, there was the positive 
possession of an important railroad center, and the 
apparent security of Western and Central Tennessee 
from rebel occupation. 

In addition to these it had one yet more immedi- 
ate and valuable military result. The remaining 
rebel strongholds on the upper Mississippi were 
now so completely turned that they were no longer 
tenable. Forts Pillow and Eandolph were hastily 
evacuated by the enemy, and the Union flotilla 
1862. took possession of their deserted works on June 5. 
Halleck had been looking somewhat anxiously for 
help on the river, and had complained of the un- 
willingness of the gunboats to run past the Fort 
PUlow batteries and destroy the river fleet of the 
rebels. Flag-officer Davis had considered the risk 
too great and had remained above Fort Pillow, 
occupying his time in harassing the works by a 
continuous bombardment. Now that the way was 
opened he immediately advanced in force, and at 
night of June 5 came to anchor two miles above 
the city of Memphis. His flotilla had lately re- 
ceived a notable reenf orcement. One of the many 
energetic impulses which Stanton gave to mili- 
tary operations in the first few months after he 
became Secretary of War was his employment of 
an engineer of genius and daring, Charles EUet, 
Jr., to extemporize a fieet of steam-rams for ser- 
vice on the Western rivers. 

halleck's coeinth campaign 343 

The single blow by wbich the iron prow of the chap.xix. 
Merrimac sunk the Cumberland, at the time of 
the famous sea-fight between the Merrimac and the 
Monitor, had demonstrated the effectiveness of this 
novelty in marine warfare. EUet's proposal to 
the Secretary of the Navy, to try it on the Western 
rivers, was not favorably entertained ; probably 
because the Navy Department already had its offi- 
cers and its appropriations engaged in other more 
methodical and permanent naval constructions. 
But the eager and impatient Secretary of War 
listened to EHet's plans with interest, and commis- 
sioned him to collect such suitable river craft as 
he could find on the Ohio, and to convert them 
post-haste into steam-rams, " the honorable Secre- 
tary," reports EUet, " expressing the hope that not 
more than twenty days would be consumed in get- 
ting them ready for service." EUet received his 
orders March 27.^ On May 25 he joined the flotilla 1862. 
of Davis with a fleet of six vessels, formerly swift 
and strong river tugs and steamers, but now 
strengthened and converted for their new and 
peculiar service, and these accompanied the gun- 
boats in the advance against Memphis. On the 
morning of June 6 the rebel flotilla of eight gun- 

i"In response to that order and a half feet beam in the 

I selected three of the strong- widest part, and eight feet hold. 

est and swiftest stern-wheel At New Albany I secured a 

coal tow-boats at Pittsburg, of boat of about the same length 

which the average dimensions but rather less beam, and subse- 

are about one hundred and sev- quently I selected another at 

enty feet length, thirty feet Cincinnati, of about the same 

beam, and over five feet hold, class as the last, and sent her to 

At Cincinnati I selected two Madison to be fitted out." — EUet 

side-wheel boats, of which the to McGunnigle, April 27, 1862. 

largest is one hundred and W. R. Vol. X., Part II., pp. 621, 

eighty feet long, thirty-seven 622. 



Chap. XIX. boats was discovered in front of the city preparing 
for fight, and there occurred another of the many 
dramatic naval combats of the war. 

The eight rebel gunboats ranged themselves in 

June 6, 1862. two llues abrcast the city. The hills of Memphis 
were covered with thousands of spectators. With 
the dawn five of the Union gunboats began backing 
down the Mississippi, holding their heads against 
the strong current to insure easier control and 
management of the vessels. The steam-rams were 
yet tied up to the river bank. Soon the rebel flo- 
tilla opened fire on the Union gunboats, to which 
the latter replied with spirit. Four of EUet's rams, 
hearing the guns, cast loose to take part in the 
conflict. One of them disabled her rudder, and 
another, mistaking her orders, remained out of 
fighting distance. But the Queen of the West and 
the Monarch, passing swiftly between the gunboats, 
dashed into the rebel line. The gunboats, now 
turning their heads down the stream, hastily fol- 
lowed. There was a short and quick mel^e of these 
uncouth-looking river monsters, ram crashing into 
ram and gunboat firing into gunboat in a confusion 
of attack and destruction. In twenty minutes four 
rebel vessels and one Union ram were sunk or dis- 
abled. At this the other four rebel vessels turned 
and fled down-stream, and in a running pursuit of 
an hour, extending some ten miles, three additional 
vessels of the enemy were captured or destroyed. 
The Confederate fleet was almost annihilated ; only 
one of their gunboats escaped. The two disabled 
Union ships were soon raised and repaired, but the 
ram fleet had suffered an irreparable loss. Its com- 
mander, Ellet, was wounded by a pistol-shot, from 


the effect of wMch he died two weeks later. The chap. xix. 
combat was witnessed by Jeff. Thompson, com- 
manding the city with a small detachment of rebel 
troops. In his report of the affair he mentions that 
" we were hurried in our retirement from Mem- 
phis." That afternoon the Union flag floated over 
the city. 

The naval victory of Memphis supplemented and 
completed the great Tennessee campaign begun by 
Grant's reconnaissance of January 9. A division 
of Buell's army under General Mitchel had in the 
mean while occupied and held the line of the Ten- 
nessee River between Tuscumbia and Stevenson; 
and thus the frontier of rebellion had been pushed 
down from middle Kentucky below the southern 
boundary of the State of Tennessee. But the in- 
vading movement following the line of the Ten- 
nessee River had expended its advantage; the 
initial point of a new campaign had been reached. 
We are left in doubt under what conviction Halleck 
formed his next plans, for he determined to dis- 
solve and scatter the magnificent army of more 
than one hundred thousand men under his hand 
and eye ; apparently in violation of the very mili- 
tary theory he had formulated two weeks before, 
when he said, "We are operating on too many 
points." In a dispatch to the Secretary of War on 
the 9th of June he announced his purpose to do 
three distinct things : First, to hold the Memphis Haiieck 
and Charleston Railroad ; second, to send relief to *°junT9?°' 
Curtis in Arkansas; third, to send troops to East ^^voi. x'.f' 

Part T 

Tennessee. To these three he added a fourth pur- p. 67i." 
pose in a dispatch of June 12 : " If the combined 
fleet of Farragut and Davis fail to take Vicksburg, 


Chap. XIX. I will Send an expedition for that purpose as soon 
Haueokto as I Can reenforce General Curtis." 

Stauton, . 

1862™ w\ ^P *° *^^^ point the country's estimate or bren- 
^pmn!;" eral HaUeck's ' military ability had steadily risen, 
^' ^*' but several serious errors of judgment now arrested 
his success. The greatest of these errors, perhaps, 
was the minor importance he seems to have at- 
tached to a continuation of the operations on the 
Mississippi River. We have described the victory 
of Farragut, and we need now to follow the up- 
ward course of his fleet. After receiving the sur- 
render of New Orleans in the last days of April, he 
promptly pushed an advance section of his ships 
up the Mississippi, which successively, and without 
serious opposition, received the surrender of all the 
important cities below Vicksburg, where Farragut 
himself arrived on the 20th of May. Vicksburg 
proved to be the most defensible position on the 
Mississippi, by reason of the high bluffs at and 
about the city. The Confederates had placed such 
faith in their defenses of the upper river, at Co- 
lumbus, Island No. 10, and Fort Pillow, that no 
early steps were taken to fortify Vicksburg; but 
when Farragut passed and captured the lower 
forts and the upper defenses fell, the rebels made 
what haste they could to create a formidable bar- 
rier to navigation at Vicksburg. 

Beauregard sent plans for fortifications while he 
was yet disputing Halleck's advance from Shiloh 
to Corinth ; and Lovell at New Orleans, retreating 
before Farragut's invasion, shipped the heavy guns 
he could no longer keep, and sent five regiments of 
Confederate troops which he could no longer use, 
to erect the works. These reached their destination 

halleok's ooeikth campaign 347 

on May 12, and continuing the labors and prepara- chap.xix. 
tions already begun, he had six batteries ready for 
service on Farragut's arrival. Remembering these 
dates and numbers, we can realize the unfortunate 
results of Halleck's dilatory Corinth campaign. He 
had then been in command, for a whole month, of 
forces double those of his antagonist. If, instead 
of digging his way from Shiloh to Corinth " with 
pick and shovel," he had forced such a prompt 
march and battle as his overwhelming numbers 
gave him power to do, the inevitable defeat or 
retreat of his enemy would have enabled him to 
meet the advance of Farragut with an army detach- 
ment sufficient to effect the reduction of Vicksburg 
with only slight resistance and delay. Such a move- 
ment ought to have followed by all the rules of 
military and political logic. The opening of the 
Mississippi outranked every other Western military 
enterprise in importance and urgency. It would 
have effectually severed four great States from the 
rebel Confederacy ; it would have silenced doubt at 
home and extinguished smoldering intervention 
abroad ; it would have starved the rebel armies and 
fed the cotton operatives of Europe. There would 
have been ample time, for he was advised as early 
as the 27th of April that New Orleans had been 1862. 
captured and that Farragut had "orders to push 
up to Memphis immediately," and he ought to have 
prepared to meet him. 

No such cooperation, however, greeted Farragut. 
Reaching Vicksburg, his demand for the surrender 
of the place was refused. The batteries were at 
such a height that his guns could have no effect 
against them. Only two regiments of land forces 


Chap. XIX. accompanied the fleet. There was nothing to be 
done but to return to New Orleans, which he reached 
1862. about the 1st of June. Here he met orders from 
Washington communicating the great desire of the 
Administration to have the river opened. Farra- 
gut took immediate measures to comply with this 
requirement. But his task had already become 
more difficult. The enemy quickly comprehended 
the advantage which the few high bluffs of the 
Mississippi afforded them, if not to obstruct, at 
least to harass and damage the operations of a fleet 
unsupported by land forces. The places which had 
been surrendered were, on the retirement of the 
ships, again occupied, and batteries were soon raised, 
which, though unable to cope with armed vessels, 
became troublesome and dangerous to transports, 
and were intermittently used or abandoned as the 
advantage or necessity of the enemy dictated. 

Farragut again reached Vicksburg about June 25, 
accompanied this time by Poi'ter with sixteen of his 
mortar-boats, and by General Thomas Williams at 
the head of three thousand Union troops. The 
mortar-sloops were placed in position and bom- 
barded the rebel works on the 27th. On the morn- 
ing of June 28, before daylight, Farragut's ships, 
with the aid of the continued bombardment, made 
an attack on the Vicksburg batteries, and most of 
them succeeded in passing up the river with com- 
paratively small loss. Here he found EUet — brother 
of him who was wounded at Memphis — with some 
vessels of the ram fleet, who carried the news to the 
gunboat flotilla under Davis yet at Memphis. This 
flotilla now also descended the river and joined 
Farragut on the 1st of July. 

halleck's cokinth campaign 349 

We have seen, by the dispatch heretofore quoted, ciLip.xix. 
that Halleck expected the combined naval and gun- 
boat forces to reduce the Vicksburg defenses, but 
also that, in the event of their failui'e, he would 
send an army to help them. The lapse of two 
weeks served to modify this intention. The Secre- 
tary of War, who had probably received news of 
Farragut's first failure to pass the Vickburg batter- stanton to 
ies, telegraphed him on June 23 to examine the jmlaa,' 
project of a canal to cut off Vicksburg, suggested voi.' xvii.', 
by General Butler and others. Halleck replied (on J^^^^^;.^ 
June 28), " It is impossible to send forces to Vieks- * j^e^as,"' 
burg at present, but I will give the matter very full yo?; x^ilI 
attention as soon as circumstances will permit." ^^I!^" 
That same day Farragut passed above the batter- 
ies, and of this result Halleck was informed by 
G-rant, who was at Memphis. Grant's dispatch 
added an erroneous item of news concerning the 
number of troops with Farragut, but more trust- 
worthy information soon reached Halleck in the 
form of a direct application from Farragut for help. 
To this appeal Halleck again felt himself obliged to 
reply in the negative, July 3, 1862 : " The scattered 
and weakened condition of my forces renders it 
impossible for me, at the present, to detach any 
troops to cooperate with you on Vicksburg. Prob- ^f^^^^ 
ably I shall be able to do so as soon as I can get my ""^"^eporf ^' 
troops more concentrated. This may delay the seCTetary 
clearing of the river, but its accomplishment will jfa^y^ 
be certain in a few weeks." 

The hopeful promise with which the telegram 
closed dwindled away during the eleven days that 
followed. On the 14th of July Stanton asked him 
the direct question: "The Secretary of the Navy 


Chap. XIX. desires to know whether you have, or intend to 
have, any land force to cooperate in the operations 
at Vicksburg. Please inform me immediately, in- 
asmuch as orders he intends to give will depend on 
your answer." The answer this time was short and 

voi^xvii., conclusive. " I cannot at present give Commodore 
p. 97. ■' Farragut any aid against Vicksburg." A coopera- 
tive land force of from 12,000 to 15,000 men, Farra- 
1862. gut estimated in his report of June 28, would have 
been sufficient to take the works. If we compare 
the great end to be attained with the smaUness of 
the detachment thought necessary, there remains 
no reasonable explanation why Halleck should not 
have promptly sent it. But the chance had been 
lost. The waters of the Mississippi were falling so 
rapidly that Farragut dared not tarry in the river ; 
and in accordance with orders received from the 
Department on July 20, he again ran past the 
Vicksburg batteries and returned to New Orleans.. 
If Halleck's refusal to help Farragut take Vicks- 
burg seems inexplicable, it is yet more difficult to 
understand the apparently sudden cessation of aU 
his military activity, and his proposal, just at the 
time when his army had gathered its greatest 
strength and efficiency, to terminate his main cam- 
paign, and, in effect, go into summer quarters. He 
no longer talked of splitting secession in twain in 
one month, or of being at the enemy's throat. He 
no longer pointed out the waste of precious time, 
and uttered no further complaint about his ina- 
bility to control Buell's army. His desires had been 
gratified. He commanded half of the military area 
within the Union ; he had three armies under his 
own eye ; the enemy was in flight before him ; he 


could throw double numbers of men at any given chap.xix. 
point. At least two campaigns of overshadowing 
importance invited his resistless march. But in 
the midst of his success, in the plenitude of his 
power, with fortune thrusting opportunity upon 
him, he came to a sudden halt, folded his con- 
tented arms, and imitated the conduct that he 
wrongfully imputed to Grant after Donelson — Mccfeiun" 
" Satisfied with his victory, he sits down and en- 1862^"^ w\. 
joys it without regard to the future." In a long p.'eso. ' 
letter to the Secretary of "War, dated June 25, after 
reviewing the sanitary condition of the army and 
pronouncing it very good, he asked, apparently as Haiieokto 
the main question, " Can we carry on any summer ISl'eM,' 

. ,-, , 1 • 1 J.- £ 1862. w. E. 

campaign without having a large portion oi our voi. xvr., 
men on the sick-list ? " This idea seemed to domi- p- 62. " 
nate his thought and to decide his action. Buell 
had been ordered eastward on a leisurely march 
towards Chattanooga. Halleck proposed to plant 
the armies of Grant and of Pope on the healthy 
uplands of Northern Mississippi and Alabama as 
mere corps of observation. Having personally 
wrested Corinth from the enemy, he exaggerated 
its strategical value. As a terminal point in the 
southward campaign, along the line of the Tennes- 
see River, its chief use was to aid in opening the 
Mississippi Eiver by turning the Confederate 
fortifications from Columbus to Memphis. Those 
strongholds once in Federal possession, Corinth 
inevitably fell into a secondary role, especially 
since the summer droughts rendered the Tennessee 
River useless as a military highway. 

Carrying out this policy of Halleck, a large por- 
tion of the Western armies of the Union wasted 


chap.xix. time and strength guarding a great area of rebel 
territory unimportant for military uses, and wMeli 
could have been better protected by an active for- 
ward movement. The security and the supply of 
Corinth appears to have been the central purpose. 
Buell was delayed in his march thoroughly to 
repair the railroad from Corinth eastward towards 
Chattanooga. Other detachments of the army were 
employed to repair the raih'oads westward from 
Corinth to Memphis, and northward from Corinth 
to Columbus. For several months all the energies 
of the combined armies were diverted from their 
more useful duty of offensive war to tedious labor 
on these local railroads ; ^ much of the repairs be- 
ing destroyed, almost as rapidly as performed, by 
daring guerrUla hostilities, engendered and screened 
amidst the surrounding sentiment of disloyalty. It 
is impossible to guess what Halleck's personal 
supervision in these tasks might have produced, 
for at this juncture came a culmination of events 
that transferred him to another field of duty ; but 
the legacy of policy, plans, and orders that he left 
behind contributed to render the whole Western 
campaign sterile throughout the second half of 1862. 
The unfortunate policy of thus tying up the 
Western forces in mere defensive inaction comes 
out in still stronger light in the incident that fol- 
lows ; but it especially serves to show once more 

1 "I inclose herewith a copy of captured from the enemy greatly 
a report of Brigadier-General Mc- injured. Indeed, the woodwork 
Pherson, superintendent of rail- of most of the cars has been en- 
roads, from which it will he seen tirely rebuilt, and all this work 
that we have opened 367 miles has been done by details from the 
of road in less than one month, army." — Halleck to Stanton, July 
besides repairing a number of 7, 1862. W. R. Vol. XVII., 
locomotives and oars which were Part U., p. 78. 


how, in the West as well as in tlie East, President chap.xix. 
Lincoln treated his military commanders, not with 
ignorant interference, as has been so often alleged, 
bnt with the most fatherly indulgence. Future 
chapters will describe the complete failure in the 
East of the campaign undertaken by McOlellan 
against Richmond, and which, on the 30th of June, 
brought to Halleck an order from the Secretary of 
War, dated the 28th, immediately to detach and 
send 25,000 men to assist that imperiled enterprise. 
The necessity was declared " imperative." " But in 
detaching your force," explained the order, "the 
President directs that it be done in such way as gtantonto 
to enable you to hold your ground and not inter- fune m,' 
fere with the movement against Chattanooga and voi.' :^n.'. 
East Tennessee." Halleck took instant measures p. a. " 
to obey the order, but said in reply that it would 
jeopardize the ground gained in Tennessee and 
involve the necessity of abandoning Buell's East 
Tennessee expedition. This result the Presi- 
dent had in advance declared inadmissible. He 
now telegraphed emphatically on June 30: " Would 
be very glad of 25,000 infantry — no artillery or 
cavalry ; but please do not send a man if it endan- 
gers any place you deem important to hold, or if it 
forces you to give up or weaken or delay the expe- Lincoln to 
dition against Chattanooga. To take and hold the f^e 30,' 
railroad at or east of Cleveland, in East Tennessee, voi.' xvil; 

Part II 

I think fully as important as the taking and hold- p. 53. " 
ing of Richmond." 

This request, but accompanied by the same cau- 
tion and condition, was repeated by the President 
on July 2 ; and again, under the prompting of ex- 
treme need, Lincoln on July 4 sent a diminished 
Vol. v.— 23 



Chap. XIX. 

Lincoln to 


Juiy 4, 1862. 

W. K. 

Vol. xvir., 

Part. II., 
p. 70. 

to Lincoln, 
July 6, 1862. 

W. K. 

Vol. XVII., 

Part IL, 

pp. 71, 72. 

request; still, hovrever, insisting tliat no risk be 
incurred in the West: "You do not knovr how 
much you would oblige us if, without abandoning 
any of your positions or plans, you could promptly 
send us even ten thousand infantry. Can you 
not? Some part of the Corinth army is cer- 
tainly fighting McClellan in front of Eichmond. 
Prisoners are in our hands from the late Corinth 

In Halleck's response on the following day it is 
important to notice the difference in the opinions 
entertained by the two men upon this point. Lin- 
coln wished to gain East Tennessee, Halleck desired 
to hold West Tennessee. The distinction is essen- 
tial, for we shall see that while Halleck's policy 
prevailed, it tended largely, if not principally, to 
thwart the reahzation of Lincoln's earnest wish. 
Halleck telegraphed : " For the last week there has 
been great uneasiness among Union men in Ten- 
nessee on account of the secret organizations of in- 
surgents to cooperate in any attack of the enemy 
on our lines. Every commanding officer from 
Nashville to Memphis has asked for reenf orcements. 
Under these circumstances I submitted the question 
of sending troops to Richmond to the principal 
officers of my command. They are unanimous in 
opinion that if this army is seriously diminished 
the Chattanooga expedition must be revoked or the 
hope of holding Southwest Tennessee abandoned. 
I must earnestly protest against surrendering what 
has cost us so much blood and treasure, and which 
in a military point of view is worth three Rich- 
monds." He had already, in a previous telegram 
(July 1), acknowledged and exercised the discretion 

halleok's cokinth campaign 355 

which Lincoln gave him, replying, " Tour telegram, chap.xix. 
just received, saves "Western Tennessee." 

It was found by the Washington authorities that 
the early reports of McClellan's reverses had been 
unduly exaggerated, and that by straining resources 
in the East the Western armies might be left un- 
diminished. But with this conviction President 
Lincoln also reached the decision that the failure 
of the Richmond campaign must be remedied by 
radical measures. To devise new plans, to elabo- 
rate and initiate new movements, he needed the help 
of the highest attainable professional skill. None 
seemed at the moment so available as that of Hal- 
leck. Under his administration order had come 
out of chaos in Missouri, and under his guiding 
control, however feeble in the particular cases that 
we have pointed out, the Western armies had won 
the victories of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Pea 
Ridge, Shiloh, Island No. 10, and Corinth. It was 
a record of steady success, which justified the belief 
that a general had been found who might be in- 
trusted with the direction of the war in its larger 
combinations. The weakness of his present plans 
had not yet been developed. Accordingly on the 
11th of July this order was made by the President: 
"That Major-General Henry W. Halleck be as- 
signed to command the whole land forces of the ungojjj 
United States as general-in-chief, and that he re- jSy^'i^ 
pair to this capital as soon as he can with safety to voi.' :^il; 
the positions and operations within the department p'. m. " 
under his charge." 

It seemed at the moment the best that could be 
done. In his short Corinth campaign Halleck had 
substantially demonstrated his unfitness for the 


CHAP. XIX. leadership of an army in the field. He had made a 
grievous mistake in coming away from his depart- 
ment headquarters at St. Louis. He was a thinker 
and not a worker ; his proper place was in the mil- 
itary study and not in the camp. No other soldier 
in active service equaled him in the technical and 
theoretical acquirements of his profession. The act 
of the President in bringing him to Washington 
restored him to his more natural duty. 

In following the further career of Halleck, one of 
the incidents attending this transfer needs to be 
borne in mind. The first intimation of the change 
came in the President's dispatch of the 2d of July 
which asked : " Please tell me could you make me 
a flying visit for consultation without endangering 
the service in your department ? " A few days later 
one of the President's friends went from Washing- 
ton to Corinth bearing a letter of introduction to 
Halleck, explaining among other things : "I know 
the object of his visit to you. He has my cheerful 
consent to go, but not my direction. He wishes 
to get you and part of your force, one or both, to 
Lincoln to comc here. You already know I should be ex- 
j5y"ri862. ceedingly glad of this if in your judgment it could 
Vol. XVI., be without endangering positions and operations 
p. 100." in the Southwest." To this Halleck replied 
on July 10: "Governor Sprague is here. If I 
Halleck "Were to go to Washington I could advise but one 
*j^*?Tor' thing — to place all the forces in North Carolina, 
volxvL,' Virginia, and Washington under one head, and 
p. 117.' hold that head responsible for the result." 

It is doubtful if Halleck measured fully the im- 
port of his language ; or whether he realized the 
danger and burden of the responsibility which, if 


he did not invite, he at least thus voluntarily chap.xix. 
assumed. Nominally he became general-in-chief, 
but in actual practice his genius fell short of the 
high duties of that great station. While he ren- 
dered memorable service to the Union, his judg- 
ment and resolution sometimes quailed before the 
momentous requirements of his office, and thrust 
back upon the President the critical and decisive 
acts which overawed him. In reality, he was from 
the first only what he afterwards became by tech- 
nical orders — the President's chief -of-staflf. 



Chap. XX. 



W. R. 

Vol. XI., 

Part I., 

p. 405. 

GENERAL McCLELL AN arrived at Fort Mon- 
roe on the morning of the 2d of April, 1862, 
to begin the campaign against Richmond on the 
route chosen by himself. According to his own 
report he had the next day ready to move 58,000 
men and 100 guns, besides the division artillery. 
They were of the flower of the volunteer army, and 
included also Sykes's brigade of regulars. Hunt's 
artillery reserve, and several regiments of cavalry. 
These were all on the spot, prepared to march, and 
an almost equal number were on their way to join 
him. He seemed at first to appreciate the neces- 
sity for prompt and decisive action, and with only 
one day's delay issued his orders for the march 
up the Peninsula between the York and James 

The first obstacle that he expected to meet was 
the force of Greneral J. B. Magruder at Yorktown, 
which McCleUan estimated at from 15,000 to 20,000. 
Magruder says his force consisted of 11,000, of 
which 6000 were required for the fortifications of 
Yorktown and only 5000 were left to hold the line 
across the Peninsula, 13 miles in length. His only 
object was to delay as long as possible the advance 


of the National troops upon Rieliinond, and his chap. xx. 
dispositions were made to that end. If he had 
had troops enough, he says that he would have 
made his line of defense between Ship Point, on 
the York, and the mouth of the Warwick, on the 
James. But his force being insufficient for that 
purpose, he took up as a second line the Warwick 
River, which heads only a mUe or so from York- 
town and empties into the James some thirteen 
miles to the south, Yorktown and its redoubts, 
united by long curtains and flanked by rifle-pits, 
formed the left of his line, which was continued 
by the Warwick Eiver, a sluggish and boggy 
stream running through a dense wood fringed with 
swamps. The stream was dammed in two places, 
at Wynn's Mill and at Lee's MiU ; and Magruder 
constructed three more dams to back up the river 
and make the fords impassable. Each of these 
dams was protected by artillery and earthworks. 

General McCleUan was ignorant not only of these 
preparations made to receive him, but also of 
the course of the river and the nature of the 
ground through which it ran. He knew something 
of the disposition of Magruder's outposts on his 
flrst line, and rightly conjectured that they would 
retire as he advanced. His orders for the 4th of 
April were therefore punctually carried out, and im. 
he seemed to expect no greater difficulty in his plan 
for the next day.' He divided his force into two 
columns — Heintzelman to take the right and 
march directly to Yorktown ; and Keyes, taking 
the road to the left, to push on to the Half-way 

1 In a letter on the 3d he wrote : Yorktown day after to-morrow." 
"I hope to get possession of " McClellan's Own Story," p. 307. 


Chap. XX. House in the rear of Yorktown, on the Williams- 
burg road. He expected Keyes to be there the 
same day, to occupy the narrow ridge in that 
1862. neighborhood, " to prevent the escape of the garri- 
son at Yorktown by land, and to prevent reinforce- 
ments from being thrown in." Heintzelman went 
forward to the place assigned him in front of 
Yorktown, meeting with little opposition. Keyes 
marched by the road assigned him until he came to 
the enemy's fortified position at Lee's Mill, which 
to use General McClellan's words, "he found alto- 
gether stronger than was expected, unapproachable 

Vol xi., by reason of the Warwick River, and incapable of 
p. 10." being carried by assault." The energetic and active 
campaign that day begun was at once given up. 
Two days of reconnaissances convinced him that 
he could not break through the hue which Magru- 
der's little army of 11,000 men had stretched across 
the Peninsula, and he resolved upon a regular siege 
of the place. He began at the same time that cam- 
paign of complaint and recrimination against the 
Government which he kept up as long as he re- 
mained in the service. 

He always ascribed the failure of his campaign 
at this point to two causes : first, to the want of 
assistance by the navy in reducing Yorktown, and 
second, to the retention of McDowell's corps in 
front of Washington. If the navy had silenced 
the batteries at Yorktown and Gloucester, he con- 
tended, he could have gone up the Peninsula un- 
checked. This is unquestionably true; it would 
be equally true to say in general terms that if 
somebody else would do our work we would have 
no work to do. He brings no proof to show that 




ol the 

on the 

of the 
War, Part 
I., p. 6S0. 

p. 631 
ei seq. 

he had any right to expect that the navy would chap, xx, 
do this for him. It is true that he asked before he 
left "Washington that the navy might cooperate 
with him in this plan, and received in reply the 
assurance that the navy would render him all 1862. 
the assistance in its power. The sworn testi- 
mony of Captain Fox, the Assistant Secretary of 
the Navy, and of Admiral G-oldsborough, shows 
that nothing was promised that was not performed, 
and that the navy stood ready to give, and did 
give, all the assistance to the army which was 
possible. Captain Fox said : " Wooden vessels 
could not have attacked the batteries at Yorktown 
and Gloucester with any degree of success. The 
forts at Yorktown were situated too high, were 
beyond the reach of naval guns ; and I understand 
that General McClellan never expected any attack 
to be made upon them by the navy." 

Admiral Goldsborough's evidence is to the same 
effect : he promised that the Merrimac should never 
go up the York Eiver, and she did not ; he did every- 
thing that General McClellan requested of him. His 
orders from the department were clear and urgent, 
though general ; he was to extend to the army, at 
aU times, any and all aid that he could render ; and 
he never refused to honor any draft that was made 
upon him. 

The greatest of McClellan's grievances was the 
retention of McDowell's corps, and his clamor in 
regard to this was so loud and long as to blind 
many careless readers and writers to the facts in 
the case. "We have stated them already, but they 
may be briefly recapitulated here. A councU of 
war of General McClellan's corps commanders. 


CHAP. XX. called by Mmself, had decided that Washington 
could not be safely left without a covering force of 
55,000, including the garrisons of the forts. When 
1862. he had gone, General Wadsworth reported that he 
had left only nineteen thousand, and had ordered 
away nearly half of these. Two eminent generals 
in the War Department investigated this state- 
ment and found it true, whereupon the President 
ordered that McDowell's corps should for the pres- 
ent remain within reach of Washington. Mc- 
CleUan took with him to the Peninsula an aggre- 
gate force of over 100,000 men, afterwards largely 
increased. His own morning report of the 13th of 
April, signed by himself and his adjutant-general, 
v^lxi., shows that he had with him actually present for 
^'^/t"" duty 100,970. With this overwhelming superiority 
of numbers he could have detached thirty thousand 
men at any moment to do the work that he had 
intended McDowell to do. But all the energy he 
might have employed in this work he diverted in 
attacking the Administration at Washington, which 
was doing all that it could do to support and pro- 
vide for his army. 

The attitude of the President towards him at this 
time may be seen from the following letter of the 
9th of April, in which Mr. Lincoln answers McClel- 
lan's complaints with as much consideration and 
kindness as a father would use towards a querulous 
and petulant child : 

Your dispatches complaining that you ai-e not properly 
sustained, while they do not offend me, do pain me very 

Blenber's division was withdrawn from you before you 
left here, and you know the pressure under which I did it, 

yoEKTOWN 363 

and, as I thouglit, acquiesced in it — certainly not witliont chap. xx. 

After you left, I ascertained that less than twenty 
thousand unorganized men, without a single field bat- 
tery, were all you designed to he left for the defense of 
Washington and Manassas Junction, and part of this even 
was to go to General Hooker's old position. General 
Banks's corps, once designed for Manassas Junction, was 
diverted and tied up on the line of Winchester and Stras- 
burg, and could not leave it without again exposing the 
upper Potomac and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. 
This presented, or would present when McDowell and 
Sumner should be gone, a great temptation to the enemy 
to turn back from the Rappahannock and sack Washing- 
ton. My explicit order that Washington should, by the 
judgment of all the commanders of army corps, be left 
entirely secure, had been neglected. It was precisely this 
that drove me to detain McDowell. 

I do not forget that I was satisfied with your arrange- 
ment to leave Banks at Manassas Junction; but when 
that arrangement was broken up, and nothing was substi- 
tuted for it, of course I was constrained to substitute 
something for it myself. And allow me to ask, do you 
really think I should permit the line from Richmond 
via Manassas Junction to this city to be entirely open, 
except what resistance could be presented by less than 
twenty thousand unorganized troops ? This is a question 
which the country will not allow me to evade. 

There is a curious mystery about the number of troops 
now with you. When I telegraphed you on the 6th say- 
ing you had over 100,000 with you, I had just obtained 
from the Secretary of War a statement taken, as he said, 
from your own returns, making 108,000 then with you and 
en route to you. You now say you wOl have but 85,000 
when all en route to you shall have reached you. How 
can the discrepancy of 23,000 be accounted for ? ^ 

IThe discrepancy cannot Ije troops composing the Army of the 

accounted for. General MeClel- Potomac after its disembarkation 

lan's official morning report of on the Peninsula: Aggregate 

the 13th of April, four days after present for duty, 100,970; on 

the date of the President's letter, special duty, sick, and in arrest, 

gives the following: "Number of 4265; aggregate absent, 12,486 


Chap. XX. As to General Wool's command, I understand it is 
doing for you precisely what a like number of your own 
would have to do if that command was away. 

I suppose the whole force which has gone forward for 
you is with you by this time, and if so, I think it is the 
precise time for you to strike a blow. By delay the enemy 
will relatively gain upon you — that is, he will gain faster 
by fortifications and reenf orcements than you can by reen- 
forcements alone. And ouce more let me tell you it is 
indispensable to you that you strike a blow. I am power- 
less to help this. You wiU do me the justice to remember 
I always insisted that going down the bay in search of a 
field, instead of fighting at or near Manassas, was only 
shifting and not surmounting a difBculty ; that we woidd 
find the same enemy and the same or equal intrenchments 
at either place. The country will not fail to note, is now 
noting, that the present hesitation to move upon an in- 
trenched enemy is but the story of Manassas repeated. 

I beg to assure you that I have never written you or 
spoken to you in greater kindness of feeling than now, 

yf jj nor with a fuller purpose to sustain you, so far as, in my 
^ar?i' ™*^st anxious judgment, I consistently can. But you 

p. 16.'' must act. 

These considerations produced no impression 
upon General McClellan. From the beginning to 
1862. the end of the siege of Torktown, his dispatches 
were one incessant cry for men and guns. These 
the Government furnished to the utmost extent 
possible, but nothing contented him. His halluci- 
nation of overwhelming forces opposed to him began 
again, as violent as it was during the winter. On 
the 8th of April he wrote to Admiral Goldsborough, 

—total aggregate, 117,721." dwindled so considerably, as 
Yet with statements like these on years rolled by, that in his article, 
file in the War Department, over in " Battles and Leaders " (Vol. 
his own signature, he did not H., p. 171), on the Peninsular 
hesitate to inform the President Campaign, he gives his avail- 
that his force amounted to only able fighting force as "only some 
85,000; and even this sum 67,000 for battle." 


" I am probably weaker than they now are, or soon chap. xx. 
will be." His distress is sometimes comic in its ex- 
pression. He writes on the 7th of April, " The War- 1862. 
wick River grows worse the more you look at it." 
While demanding McDowell's corps en bloc he 
asked on the 5th for Franklin's division, and on 
the 10th repeated this request, saying that although 
he wanted more, he would be responsible for the 
results if Franklin's division were sent him. The 
Government, overborne by his importunity, gave 
orders the same day that Franklin's division should 
go to him, and the arrangements for transporting 
it were made with the greatest diligence. He 
was delighted with this news; and although the 
weather was good and the roads improving, he did 
nothing but throw up earthworks until they came. 
They arrived on the 20th, and no use whatever was 
made of them ! He kept them in the transports in 
which they had come down the bay more than two 
weeks — in fact, until the day before the siege 
ended. It is hard to speak with proper moderation 
of such a disposition of this most valuable force, 
so clamorously demanded by General McClellan, 
and so generously sent him by the President. 
General Webb, the intimate friend and staff-officer 
of McClellan, thus speaks of it : 

The latter officer [Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander of the 
Corps of Engineers] was then instructed to devise the 
proper arrangements and superintend the landing of 
the troops ; but, extraordinary as it may seem, more than 
two weeks were consumed in the preliminaries, and when 
everything was nearly ready for the disembarkation the 
enemy had vanished from the scene. . . How Ion git would 
have taken the whole of McDowell's corps to disembark at 
this rate . . . the reader may judge ; and yet for days it 



Chap. XX. 




pp. 61, 62. 

W. E. 

Vol. XI., 

Part I., 

p. 406. 

had been General McCleUan's pet project, in connection 
with his plan of campaign, to utilize McDowell in just this 
manner as a flanking column. 

The simple truth is, there was never an hour 
during General McCleUan's command of the army 
that he had not more troops than he knew what to 
do with; yet he was always instinctively calling 
for more. Mr. Stanton one day said of him, with 
natural hyperbole : " If he had a million men, he 
would swear the enemy had two millions, and then 
he would sit down in the mud and yell for three." 
He repeatedly telegraphed to Washington that he 
expected to fight an equal or greater force — in 
fact, " all the available force of the rebels " in the 
neighborhood of Yorktown. We have the concur- 
rent testimony of all the Confederate authorities 
that no such plan was ever thought of. Magruder's 
intentions, as well as his orders from Richmond, 
were merely to delay McCleUan's advance as long 
as practicable. His success in this purpose sur- 
passed his most sanguine expectations. In the 
early days of April he was hourly expecting an at- 
tack at some point on his thinly defended line of 
thirteen miles, guarded, as he says, by only 5000 
men, exclusive of the 6000 who garrisoned York- 
town. " But to my utter surprise," he continues, 
" he permitted day after day to elapse without an 
assault." At last, no less to his astonishment than 
to his deUght, Magruder discovered that McCleUan 
was beginning a regular siege, which meant a gain 
of several weeks for the rebel defense of Eichmond, 
and absolute safety for the concentration of rebel 
troops in the mean time. 

It is now perfectly clear that McCleUan could 


have carried the line of Magruder by assault at any chap. xx. 
time during the early days of April. From the im. 
mass of testimony to this effect before us we will 
take only two or three expressions, of the highest 
authority. General A. S. Webb says: "That the 
Warwick line could have been readily broken with- 
in a week after the army's arrival before it, we now "ThePen- 

•^ insula," 

know." General Heintzelman says, in his evidence p- ^^^ 

before the Committee on the Conduct of the War : 

" I think if I had been permitted, when I first landed 

on the Peninsula, to advance, I could have isolated of ^h? 

the troops in Yorktown, and the place would have ^^''on'tSl*''*' 

/; Ti . n 1 1 J ^ Conduct ol 

lalien m a few days; but my orders were very the war. 
stringent not to make any demonstration." pp- s^. 3«. 

General Barnard, McCleUan's chief of engineers, 
says in his final report of the campaign that the 
lines of Yorktown should have been assaulted: 

There is reason to believe that they were not held by 
strong force when our army appeared before them, and 
we know that they were far from complete. . . Our 
troops toiled a month in the trenches, or lay in the 
swamps of the Warwick. We lost few men by the siege, 
but disease took a fearful hold of the army, and toil and 
hardship, unrelieved by the excitement of combat, im- ^_jj_ 
paired the morale. We did not carry with us from ^p^-^j" 
Yorktown so good an army as we took there. pp- i29. im- 

The testimony of the enemy is the same. John- 
ston, so soon as he came to examine it, regarded 
the position of Magruder as clearly untenable; saw 
that McClellan could not be defeated there ; that 
the line was too long to be successfully defended ; 
that the back-water was as much a protection to 
one side as the other; that there was a considerable 
unfortified space between Yorktown and the head 
of the stream open to attack; and that the posi- 


CHAP. XX. tion could at any time be turned by way of York 
Eiver. Every one seemed to see it except General 
McClellan. He went on sending dispatches every 
day to Washington for heavier guns and more men, 
digging a colossal system of earthworks for grad- 
ual approach upon one side of an intrenched camp 
of no strategic value whatever, the rear of which 
was entirely open; preparing with infinite labor 
and loss the capture of a place without a prisoner, 
the effect of which at the best would be merely to 
push an army back upon its reserves. 
1862. Even so late as the 16th of April, an opportu- 

nity to break Magruder's line was clearly presented 
to McClellan and rejected. He had ordered G-eneral 
W. F. Smith to reconnoiter a position known as 
Dam No. 1, between Lee's and Wynn's Mills, where 
there was a crossing covered by a one-gun battery 
of the enemy. For this purpose Smith pushed 
Brooks's Vermont brigade with Mott's battery 
somewhat close to the dam, carrying on a sharp 
fire. From this point he examined at his leisui-e, 
and in fact controlled, the position opposite, finding 
it feebly defended. A young officer of Brooks's staff. 
Lieutenant E. M. Noyes, crossed the river below 
the dam, where the water was only waist deep, and 
approached within fifty yards of the enemy's works. 
Eeturniug after this daring feat, he repeated his 
observations to General Smith and to General Mc- 
Clellan, who had arrived on the ground and had 

•'^ep'en- Ordered Smith to bring up his entire division to 

"p. el;' hold the advanced position occupied by Brooks's 

brigade. Smith, who perceived the importance of 

Noyes's intelligence, obtained permission to send a 

party across the stream to see if the enemy's works 


had been sufficiently denuded to enable a column chap. xx. 
to effect a lodgment. Four companies of the Third 
Vermont, numbering two hundred men, under Cap- 
tain F. C. Harrington, were ordered to cross the river 
to ascertain " the true state of affairs." They dashed 
through the stream, and in a few moments gained 
the enemy's rifle-pits, where they maintained them- 
selves with the utmost gallantry for half an hour. 
The enemy was thrown into great confusion by this 
bold and utterly unexpected movement. There 
were still several hours of daylight left, and 
another attempt was made to cross at the same 
point with a force no larger than Harrington's, 
assisted by a diversion of an equal force at the 
dam above. But the enemy being now thoroughly 
aroused and concentrated, the crossing was not 
made. It appears from General Smith's report 
that no attempt to mass the troops of the division 
for an assault was made; the only intention seemed 
to be " to secure to us the enemy's works if we 
found them abandoned ! " He adds : "The moment 
I found resistance serious, and the numbers op- 
posed great, I acted in obedience to the warning 
instructions of the general-in-chief, and withdrew voi.xi., 
the small number of troops exposed from under ^p^tJ:' 
fire." "Thus," says General Webb, "a fair oppor- 
tunity to break the "Warwick line was missed." 

The importance of this incident may be best 
appreciated by reading General Magruder's account 
of it. He caUs it a serious attempt to break his v^'.xi., 

• Part I 

line at the weakest part. If, instead of two hun- p. 406.' 
dre'd men. Smith had felt authorized to push over 
his entire division, the Peninsular Campaign might 
have had a very different termination. 
Vol. v.— 24 



Chap. XX. 

" Tie Pen- 
p. 63. 


lan's Own 


pp. 313, 316, 


McClellan announced the movement of General 
Smith in a somewhat excited dispatch to the War 
Department, which Mr. Stanton answered with 
still more enthusiastic congratulation. " Good for 
the first lick ! " he shouts ; " Hurrah for Smith 
and the one-gun battery" — showing the intense 
eagerness of the Government to find motives for 
satisfaction and congratulation in McClellan's con- 
duct. But there was no sequel to the movement ; 
indeed, General McClellan's dispatches indicate 
considerable complacency that Smith was able to 
hold the position gained. General Webb says, 
" Reconnaissances were made, . . . but no assault- 
ing columns were ever organized to take advantage 
of any opportunity offered." 

No congratulations or encouragements from the 
Government now availed anything with McClellan. 
Struggling with a command and a responsibility 
too heavy for him, he had fallen into a state of 
mind in which prompt and energetic action was 
impossible. His double illusion of an overpower- 
ing force of the enemy in his front, and of a Gov- 
ernment at Washington that desired the destruction 
of his army, was always present with him, paralyz- 
ing all his plans and actions. In his private letters 
he speaks of Washington as that "sink of iniquity"; 
of the people in authority as " those treacherous 
hounds " ; of the predicament he is in, " the rebels 
on one side and the Abolitionists and other scoun- 
drels on the other." " I feel," he says, " that the 
fate of a nation depends upon me, and I feel that I 
have not one single friend at the seat of Govern- 
ment " — this at a moment when the Government 
was straining every nerve to support him. 


The Confederates, as Mr. Lincoln had said, chap. xx. 
"were daily strengthening their position by fortifi- 
cation and reenforcement. On the 17th of April, 1862. 
Q-eneral Joseph E. Johnston took command on the 
Peninsula. He says that his force after the ar- 
rival of G. W. Smith's and Longstreet's divisions 
amounted to about 53,000 men, including 3000 johneton, 
sick; he places the force of McClellan at 133,000, tive,"p.ii7. 
including Franklin's division of 13,000 floating idly 
on their transports.-^ He did nothing more than to 
observe the Union army closely, to complete the 
fortifications between Yorktown and the inunda- 
tions of the "Warwick, and to hold his own forces 
in readiness for a movement to the rear. He kept 
himself informed of the progress of McCleUan's 
engineering work against Yorktown, as it was not 
his intention to remain long enough to spend an hour 
under fire. He did not expect to be hurried ; he had 
long before that given his opinion that McClellan 
did not especially value time. Every day of delay 
was of course an advantage, but "an additional 
day or two gained by enduring a cannonade would 
have been dearly bought in blood," and he there- 
fore determined to go before McCleUan's powerful 
artillery should open upon him. Seeing, as we 
now can, what was occurring upon both sides of 
the Warwick Eiver, there is something humilia- 
ting and not without a touch of the pathetic in the 
contrast between the clear vision of Johnston and 
the bUndness of McClellan, in relation to each 
other's attitude and purpose. While the former was 
simply watching for the flash of the first guns to 

1 His own force is correctly given. He only slightly exaggerates that 
of McClellan. 


CHAP. XX. take his departure, glad of every day that the fir- 
ing was postponed, but entirely indifferent to the 
enormous development of the siege-works going on 
in his sight, the latter was toiling with prodigious 
industry and ability over his vast earthworks and 
his formidable batteries, only pausing to send im- 
portunate dispatches to Washington for more guns 
and more soldiers, forbidding the advance of a 
picket beyond specified limits, carefully concealing 
every battery untd all should be finished, not allow- 
ing a gun to be fired until the whole thunderous 
chorus should open at once, firmly convinced that 
when he was entirely ready he would fight and 
destroy the whole rebel army. 

Nearly one hundred heavy Parrott guns, mortars, 
and howitzers were placed in battery against the 
town and camp of Yorktown and its outlying 
works, only 1500 or 2000 yards away. Against the 
opinion of his ablest staff-officers, McClellan kept 
this immense armament silent for weeks while he 
was continually adding to it. General Barnard, 
Chief of Engineers, says : " We should have opened 
vZ: xi., our batteries on the place as fast as they were com- 
^p^m.' pleted." General Barry, Chief of Artillery, says : 

The ease with which the 100 and 200 pounders of this bat- 
tery [Battery No. 1] were worked, the extraordinary accu- 
racy of their fire, and the since ascertained effects produced 
upon the enemy by it, force upon me the conviction that 
the fire of guns of similar caliber and power in the other 
batteries at much shorter ranges, combined with the 
cross-vertical fire of the 13 and 10 inch sea-coast mortars, 
would have compelled the enemy to surrender or abandon 
p. 348. his works in less than twelve hours. 

General McCleUan's only reason for refusing to 
allow the batteries to open fire as they were sue- 


cessively finished was the fear that they would be chap. xx. 
silenced by the converging fire of the. enemy as 
soon as they betrayed their position. That this 
was a gross error is shown by the Confederate re- 
ports. They were perfectly cognizant of the pro- 
gress and disposition of his batteries; the very 
good reason why they did not annoy him in their 
construction was that the Union lines were, to use 
Johnston's words, "beyond the range of our old- 
fashioned ship guns." A few experimental shots 
were fired from the shore batteries on the 1st of 
May ; the effect of them convinced the Confederate 1862. 
general of the enormous surplus strength of the 
Federal artillery. The shots from their first volley 
fell in the camp of the Confederate reserve, a mile 
and a half beyond the village.-^ 

How long General McClellan would have con- 
tinued this futile labor if he had been left alone, it 
is impossible to conjecture. If there was at first a 
limit in his own mind to the work to be done and 
the time to be consumed, it must have been con- 

1 On the 23d of April McClellan add to it to-morrow night five 30- 1862. 
wrote to the President : "Do not pounder Parrotts, six 2 0-pounder 
misunderstand the apparent in- Parrotts, from five to ten 13- 
aetion here — not a day, not an inch mortars, and — if it arrives 
hour has been lost. Works have in time — one 200-pounder Par- 
been constructed that may almost rott. Before sundown to-morrow 
be called gigantic, roads built I will essentially complete the 
through swamps and difficult ra- redoubts necessary to strengthen 
vines, material brought up, bat- the left of the first parallel ; and 
teries built. I have to-night in will construct that parallel as far 
battery and ready for action five as Wormley's Creek from the 
100-pounder Parrott guns, ten left, and probably all the way 
4j^-inoh ordnance guns, eighteen to York Biver to-morrow night. 
20-pounder Parrotts, six Napo- I loiU then be secure 

leon guns, and six 1 0-pounder sorties." — McClellan to Lincoln. 

Parrotts; this not counting the MS. With a force of three to 

batteries in front of Smith and one he was wasting weeks in de- 

on his left — 45 guns. I will fensive works. 


Chap. XX. tinually moved forward until it passed out of sight. 
Up to tlie last moment he was still making demands 
which would have taken weeks to fiU. The com- 
pletion of one work was simply an incentive to the 
1862. beginning of another. Thus, on the 28th of April, 

— a week after Franklin's arrival, — at a time when 
Johnston was already preparing to start for Eich- 
mond, he telegraphs to Washington as a pleasant 
bit of news that he had " commenced a new battery 
from right of first parallel," and adds : " Would be 
glad to have the 30-pounder Parrotts in the works 

voi.'xi., around Washington at once. Am very short of 

p. 126. ■' that excellent gun." It is not difficult to imagine 

how such a dispatch at such a time smote upon the 

intense anxiety of the President. He answered in 

wonder and displeasure : " Your call for Parrott 

Lincoln to guns from Washington alarms me, chiefly because 

McCleUan, •, • i ^ -j. j.- j.- t m • j_ 

May 1, 1862. it argues mdenmte procrastination. Is anything to 
p. i3o'. be done I " But the general, busy with his trenches 
and his epaulments, paid no regard to this search- 
ing question. Two days later, May 1, he continued 
his cheery report of new batteries and rifle-pits, and 
adds, " Enemy still in force and working hard " ; 
and these stereotyped phrases continued with no 
premonition of any immediate change until on the 
4th he telegraphed, "Yorktown is in our posses- 
sion," and later in the day began to magnify his 
victory, telling what spoils he had captured, and 
ending with the sounding phrases, " No time shall 
be lost. . . I shall push the enemy to the wall." 
Johnston had begun his preparation to move on 
1862. the 27th of April, and on the 3d of May, finding 
that McClellan's batteries were now ready to open, 

— a fact apparently not yet known to McClellan, — 


he gave orders for tlie evacuation, which began at chap. xx. 
midnight. He marched away from Yorktown with 
about 50,000 men. General McClellan, by his own 
morning report of the 30th of April, had in his 1862. 
camps and trenches, and scrambhng in haste on 
board the transports that they had quitted the day 
before, an aggregate of 112,392 present for duty, 
the total aggregate present and absent being 



Chap. XXI. ^TIHE evacuation of Yorktown took General Mc- 
webb, J- Clellan so completely by surprise that a good 
insula," deal of valuable time was lost in hurried prepara- 
tion to pursue the retiring enemy. Franklin's divi- 
sion, after their fortnight of delay on the transports, 
had been disembarked. They were hastily re- 
turned to their boats. Several hours were consumed 
in having the commands properly provisioned for 
the march. The evacuation was discovered at 

May*, 1862. dawn, and it was noon before the first column 
started in pursuit. Johnston by this time had 
taken his entire command to Williamsburg. Know- 
ing that McClellan's advance would soon reach him, 
he made his dispositions at his leisure. He posted 
a strong rear-guard there under Longstreet to pro- 
tect the movement of his trains. The Union cavalry 
under George Stoneman came into collision with 
this force about dark and was repulsed, losing one 
gun. The main body of the pursuing army came up 
during the night, under the command of Generals 
Sumner, Heintzelman, and Keyes. It is strongly 
illustrative of General McClellan's relations with 
his corps commanders, that neither of these gen- 
erals had any orders from him as to the conduct of 



the battle wMcli was inevitable as soon as they chap.xxi. 
overtook the enemy, and there was even serious 
doubt as to which among them was in command of 
the forces. Sumner had been ordered by the gen- 
eral-in-chief to take command in his absence, but 
these orders had not been communicated to Heint- 
zelman, who thought that he was to take control 
of the movement. There was some confusion of 
orders as to the roads to be taken by the different 
commands, in consequence of which Hooker came 
into position on the left of the line and Smith on the 
right. The contrary disposition had been intended. 

The morning of the 5th came with no definite May,i862. 
plan of battle arranged. Greneral Hooker, follow- 
ing his own martial instincts, moved forward and 
attacked the enemy at half -past seven and was soon 
hotly engaged. He fought almost the entire rear- 
guard of Johnston during the whole forenoon. 
Heavy reenf orcements thrown against him checked 
his advance and caused him to lose the ground he 
had gained. Hooker speaks in his report with 
much bitterness, not wholly unjustified, of the 
manner in which his division was left to fighi an 
overwhelming force, "unaided in the presence of 
more than 30,000 of their comrades with arms in voi'xi., 

' Part I., 

their hands," and we search the reports of General p- «8. 
McClellan and the corps commanders in vain for 
any adequate explanation of this state of things. ' 
Later in the day, Hancock had a hard fight, with 
greater success, on the right. 

The whole day was bloody and expensive, and 
without adequate result. The zeal of Heintzelman, 
the heroism of Hooker and Hancock and their 
brave troops, were well-nigh wasted. There was no 


Chap. XXI. Lead, no intelligent director, no understood plan. 
McClellan arrived late in th.e day and was unable 
to contribute anything to the result, although the 
cheers with which he was welcomed showed how 
fully he possessed the confidence and affection of 
his troops. He had not anticipated so early an en- 
gagement, and was spending the day at Yorktown 
to dispatch Franklin's division up the river. 

Actual contact with the enemy, however, made, 
as it always did, an exaggerated impression upon 
him. The affair which, when he heard of it at 
Yorktown, seemed to him a mere skirmish with a 
rear-guard, acquired a portentous importance when 
surveyed in the light of the bivouac at Williams- 
burg, amidst the actual and visible signs of a 
sanguinary conflict. His dispatch to the TTar 
Department, written at ten o'clock the night of the 
battle, betrays great agitation, and his idiosyncrasy 
of multiplying the number of his enemy, as a 
matter of course asserts itself. " I find Greneral 
Joe Johnston in front of me in strong force, prob- 
ably greater a good deal than my own." After a 
compliment to Hancock he continues, "I learn 
from the prisoners taken that the rebels intend to 
dispute every step to Eichmond." One can only 
wonder what he expected them to say. " I shall 
run the risk of at least holding them in cheek here, 
while I resume the original plan. My entire force 

■voLxi., is undoubtedly inferior to that of the rebels, who 
p. 448.' ■will fight well." ' Thus while Johnston was profit- 

1 On the 6th of May the vet- the young general: "The de- 
eran General Wool sent this dis- spending tone of Major-General 
patch to the War Department, McCleUan's dispatch of last even- 
showing how his elders regarded tng more than surprises me. He 
at the time these jeremiads of says his entire force is nndoubt- 


ing by tlie darkness to prepare to continue his chap.xxi. 
retrograde march at daybreak, McClellan was nerv- 
ing himself to stand the risk of holding his ground 
at Williamsburg, while he " resumed the original 
plan " of a movement by water. 

The next day, when he discovered that the enemy 
had moved away, leaving their wounded on the field 
of battle, his apprehension of attack subsided, but 
other difficulties rose before him. He telegraphed 
on the 7th to the Secretary of War : " Until the 
roads improve both in front and rear no large body voi.' xi., 
of troops can be moved." Johnston had apparently v- ite. " 
no diflflculty in moving his troops, which McClellan 
thought a larger body than his own. 

Eeaching a place called Baltimore Cross-Roads, 
Johnston halted for five days, and, after receiving 
intelligence of the evacuation of Norfolk and the 
destruction of the Merrimac, apprehending an at- 
tack upon Eichmond by way of the James River, 
he ordered his forces to cross the Chickahominy 
on the 15th. Two days after this the rebel army 
encamped about three miles from Richmond, in 
front of the line of redoubts that had been con- 
structed the previous year. It was a time of great 
apprehension, almost of dismay, at Richmond. The 
Confederate President, and most of his Cabinet, 
hastily sent their families to places of safety. Mr. 
Davis, whose religious feelings always took on a 
peculiar intensity in critical times, had himself 
baptized at home, and privately confirmed at St. 
Paul's Church. There was great doubt whether 

edly considerably inferior to that tliat they should have abandoned 
of the rebels. If such is the Yorktown."— W.R. Vol.XL,Part 
fact, I am still more surprised HI., p. 143. 


Chap. XXI. the city could be successfully defended ; the most 
important archives of the Government were sent, 
some to Lynchburg and some to Columbia.^ 

But General Johnston had reason to confirm 
his opinion that McCleUan cared little for time. 
The latter remained several days at Williamsburg 
after he had ascertained that the enemy had dis- 
appeared from in front of him. His visions of 
overwhelming forces of rebels were now transferred 
May, 1862. to Frauklin's front. On the 8th he telegraphed the 
War Department a story of 80,000 to 120,000 op- 
posed to Franklin, but in full retreat to the Chicka- 
hominy. On the 10th he sent an urgent appeal 
to Washington for more men, claiming that the 
enemy " are collecting troops from all quarters, 
especially weU-disciplined troops from the South." 
His own army would inevitably be reduced by 
sickness, casualties, garrisons, and guards — as if 
that of the enemy would not. He therefore im- 
plored large and immediate reenforcements in a 
tone which implied that the President could make 
armies by executive decree. "HI am not reen- 
forced," he says, "it is probable that I will be 
obliged to fight nearly double my numbers, strongly 
intrenched." In face of a morning report of over 
100,000 men present for duty he says : " I do not 
voi.xi., think it will be at aU possible for me to bring 
p. 26.' more than 70,000 men upon the field of battle." 

He stm protested stoutly against the original 
organization of his army corps, and asked that he 
might be permitted to break it up or at least to 
suspend it. He disliked his corps commanders, 

1 J. B. Jones, "A Rebel War Clerk's Diary." Vol. L, pp. 123, 126, 
entries of May 8, May 10, and May 19, 1862. 


and naturally wished his friends to exercise those chap.xxi. 
important commands. He blamed the corps organ- 
ization for all the trouble at Williamsburg, and 
said, if he had come on the field half an hour 
later, all would have been lost. The President was 
greatly wounded by this persistent manifestation 
of bad temper, but bore it after his fashion with 
untiring patience and kindness. He sent an official 
order, authorizing McOleUan to suspend tempo- 
rarily the corps organization in the Army of the 
Potomac, and to adopt any that he might see fit, 
until further orders. At the same time he wrote a 
private letter to the general, full of wise and kindly 
warning. He said : 

I ordered the army corps organization not only on tlie 
unanimous opinion of the twelve generals whom you had 
selected and assigned as generals of divisions, but also on 
the unanimous opinion of every military man I could get 
an opinion from, and every modern military book, your- 
self only excepted. Of course I did not on my own 
judgment pretend to understand the subject. I now 
think it indispensable for you to know how your struggle 
against it is received in quarters which we cannot entirely 
disregard. It is looked upon as merely an effort to 
pamper one or two pets and to persecute and degrade 
their supposed rivals. I have had no word from Sumner, 
Heintzelman, or Keyes. The commanders of these corps 
are of course the three highest officers with you, but I am 
constantly told that you have no consultation or com- 
munication with them; that you consult and communi- 
cate with nobody but General Fitz-John Porter and 
perhaps General Franklin. I do not say these complaints 
are true or just, but at aU events it is proper you should 
know of their existence. Do the commanders of corps 
disobey your orders in anything? 

When you relieved General Hamilton of his command 
the other day, you thereby lost the confidence of at least 
one of your best friends in the Senate. And here let me 


Chap. XXI. say, not as applicable to you personally, that Senators and 
Representatives speak of me in their places as they please 
without question, and that officers of the Army must cease 
addressing insulting letters to them for taking no greater 
liberty with them. 

But to return : Are you strong enough — are you strong 
enough, even with mj' help — to set your foot upon the 
necks of Sumner, Heintzelman, and Keyes all at once? 

M^cieUan*, This is a practical and very serious question for you. 

^^y^^'^^^'^- The success of your army and the cause of the country 

iSi; nr' ^^^ *^® same, and of course I only desire the good of the 

pp.154, 166. cause. 

General McClellan accepted the authorization 
with alacrity and the sermon with indifference. 
He at once formed two provisional army corps, 
giving Fitz- John Porter the command of one and 
Franklin of the other. 

After leaving Williamsburg and joining his army 
at Cumberland Landing, he reiterated his com- 
plaints and entreaties for reenforcements that it 
was not in the power of the Government to send 
him. His apprehension had grown to such an 
1862. extent that on the 14th of May he telegraphed his 
conviction that he would be compelled, with 80,000 
men, to fight "perhaps double my numbers" in 
front of Richmond ; and begged that the Govern- 
ment would send him "by water" — apparently he 
voi.xi., did not want them to come overland — "all the 

Parti., ,. 11, 

pp. 26, 27. disposable troops," " every man " that could be mus- 
tered. The President, anxious to leave nothing 
undone to help and encourage him, replied to these 
importunate demands first by a friendly private 
note, in which he said : 

Have done and shall do all I could and can to sustain 
you. I hoped that the opening of James River and 


putting "Wool and Burnside in communication, with an chap.xxi. 

open road to Richmond, or to you, had effected something uncoin to 

in that direction. I am still unwilling to take all our ^^ylf^^^ 
force off the direct line between Richmond and here. w. k. 

Part nil. 

He afterwards sent a dispatch through the War v- in. 
Department, received by McClellan on May 18, of imi. 
"which the essential points are as follows : 

The President is not willing to uncover the capital 
entirely, and it is believed that even if this were prudent, 
it would require more time to effect a junction between 
your army and that of the Rappahannock by the way of 
the Potomac and York rivers than by a land march. In 
order therefore to increase the strength of the attack 
upon Richmond at the earliest moment. General Mc- 
Dowell has been ordered to march upon that city by the 
shortest route. He is ordered — keeping himself always 
in position to save the capital from all possible attack — 
so to operate as to put his left wing in communication 
with your right wing, and you are instructed to co- 
operate so as to establish this communication as soon as 
possible, by extending your right wing to the north of 
Richmond, . . . but charged, in attempting this, not to 
uncover the city of Washington ; and you will give no 
order, either before or after your junction, which can put 
him out of position to cover this city. . . The President 
desires that General McDowell retain the command of the voi.' xr., 
Department of the Rappahannock, and of the forces with ^^%^.'' 
which he moves forward. 

Events as little foreseen by General McClellan as 
by the Grovernment, and which had by him been 
declared impossible, — the defeat of our forces in 
the Shenandoah and the movement of a large rebel 
force to the upper Potomac, — prevented the ex- 
ecution of this plan. But it is worthy of notice 
that immediately on the receipt of the President's 
instructions, while he was waiting for McDowell to 
join him, General McClellan evinced no gratifica- 



W. E. 

Vol. XI., 

Part I., 

p. 29. 

p. 28. 

CHAP. XXI. tion at this compliance with his wishes. On the 
contrarj^, he lost no time in protesting against it, 
and asking that McDowell should be placed ex- 
plicitly under his orders in the ordinary way. In 
his report, and in all his subsequent apologies for 
his campaign, he makes this positive assertion: 
" This order rendered it impossible for me to use 
the James River as a hue of operations, and forced 
me to estabhsh our depots on the Pamunkey and 
to approach Richmond from the north." ^ This 
charge is an evident afterthought. We will per- 
mit it to be answered by General Webb, who is 
always the friend of McClellan, and his partisan 
wherever the writer's intelligence and conscience 
allow it. He says, after quoting the claim made 
by McClellan in his report : 

It is but repeating the proper criticisms made by other 
writers that General McClellan had frequently mentioned 
the Pamunkey as his prospective base, that he made no 
representation to the Government, at the time, that he 
wished to be free to move by the James, and that ... it 
was within his power during the first three weeks of June, 
when he found that McDowell was again withheld from 
him, to follow the latter route. On one point there can 
be no question, that the position of his army, as already 
given, along the left bank of the Chickahominy from Bot- 
tom's towards New Bridge, on May 20, with the White 

iLord Wolseley, relying upon 
McClellau's erroneous statement, 
makes it the basis of an attack 
upon the Administration of Mr. 
Lincoln, which is clearly met and 
refuted by General James B. Fry 
in the "North American Review " 
for December, 1889. He shows 
not only that McClellan had es- 
tablished his depots on the Pa- 
munkey before the letter of the 
18th reached him, but that he 

had, in letters to his wife, an- 
nounced his intention to "close 
up on the Chickahominy" and his 
expectation of a battle between 
there and Eiohmond. He had 
resolved upon the line of opera- 
tions he adopted even before he 
left Washington (see Report of 
March 19), and it was only after 
his misfortunes that he bethought 
himself of charging the Grovern- 
ment with having forced him to it. 


House, on the Pamunkey, as tlie base of supplies, was one chap.xxi. 
of MeClellan's own choice, uninfluenced by McDowell's webt), 
movements. "SSifaT 

p. 87. 

It required ten days after the fight at Williams- 
burg for MeClellan's headquarters to reach Cumber- 
land Landing, on the south bank of the Pamunkey, 
and on the next day he established his permanent 
depot at White House, near by. On the 21st the May, 1862. 
army was brought together and established in line 
on the Chickahominy, the right wing being about 
seven and the left about twelve miles from Eich- 
mond, from which they were separated by two 
formidable barriers — the rebel army, and the river 
with its environment of woods and swamps, its 
fever-breathing airs and its sudden floods. The 
Chickahominy was first attacked. General Mc- 
Clellan began at once with great energy the build- 
ing of several bridges over the stream, a work of 
special difficulty on account of the boggy banks, 
which made long approaches necessary. In this 
work, and in a voluminous correspondence with 
the President in regard to reenforcements, which 
we shall notice when we come to treat of those 
movements of Jackson in the Valley that caused 
the division of McDowell's force, he passed ten 
days ; he pushed the corps of Keyes and Heintzel- 
man across the river, and retained those of Sumner, 
Franklin, and Porter on the north side. 

The monotony of camp life was broken on the 
27th of May by a creditable feat of arms performed 
by Fitz-John Porter and his corps near Hanover 
Court House, where he attacked and defeated a 
rebel force under G-eneral Branch. The chief value 
of this engagement was its demonstration of the 

Vol. v.— 25 


CHAP. XXI. splendid marchiiig and fighting qualities of the 
troops engaged. General McCleUan was greatly 
annoyed that the President did not seem to attach 
sufficient importance to this action; but Greneral 
Johnston in his " Narrative," while not diminishing 
the gallantry of Porter and his troops, or denying 
the complete defeat of Branch, treats it merely as 
an incident of Branch's march under orders to join 
General Joseph E. Anderson, which was accom- 
plished the same day at the point designated for this 
junction. There was no sequel to the fight. Porter 
and his victorious troops marched back to camp. 
1862. On the 26th of May General McCleUan informed 

the President that he was " quietly closing in upon 
the enemy preparatory to the last struggle," and 
Vol." xi., that he would be " free to strike " on the return of 

Part I 

p. 33." Porter. But several days elapsed without the blow 
being struck, until the enemy, as usual, accelerated 
matters by himself striking. It had been for some 
time the intention of General Johnston to attack 
the Union army before McDowell should join it ; 
and learning, on the day of the battle of Hanover 
Court House, that McDowell was leaving Fred- 
ericksburg, he resolved at once to strike McClel- 
lan's force on both sides of the river. When we 
consider that the consolidated returns of the Army 
of the Potomac for the 31st of May showed an ag- 
vo[.' xi., gregate of 127,166 officers and men, of whom there 
p^ 204. ■' were 98,008 present for duty, with 280 pieces of 
field artillery, and that General Johnston's force 
amounted to upwards of 62,000 effectives, we can- 
not but think it was a fortunate circumstance for 
him that he did not attempt to carry this heroic 
plan into effect. At night, when he had called his 


general officers together for their instructions, chap.xxi. 
Johnston was informed that McDowell's force, 
which had been marching southward, had returned 
to Fredericksburg. He then abandoned his idea 
of attacking McClellan on both sides of the river, 
and reverted to his former plan of assailing with 
the greater part of his force the two corps on the 
south bank as soon as they had sufficiently in- 
creased the distance between themselves and the 
three corps on the north. 

In this plan, as in the other one, — and we shall 
see, farther on, that the same was the case with 
General Lee, — General Johnston does not seem to 
have been greatly troubled about a possible initia- 
tive of General McClellan. McClellan evidently 
had no suspicion of Johnston's intentions. At the 
moment that the latter was calling his generals to- 
gether to give orders for the assault, McCleUan was 
telegraphing to Washington : " Richmond papers 
urge Johnston to attack, now he has us away from voiixi., 
gunboats. I think he is too able for that." p. 193." 

Johnston's purpose was finally adopted and put 
in action with great decision and promptitude. On 
the 30th, D. H. HUl informed him that the Federals May, 1862. 
were in force at Seven Pines, and that the indi- 
cations were that all of Keyes's corps was south 
of the river; to which Johnston immediately re- 
sponded by telling him he would attack the next 
morning. Orders were given to throw twenty- 
three of the twenty-seven brigades of which 
the Confederate army consisted, against the two 
corps of Heintzelman and Keyes.^ The rest were 

1 In" Battles and Leaders," Vol. II., p. 211, General Johnston changes 
this statement to "twenty-two out of twenty-eight brigades." 


CHAP. XXI. to observe the river by the Meadow and New 
Bridges. After the plan of battle was arranged, 
a violent storm of rain came on and continued 
most of the night. This was a welcome incident 
to Johnston, as it inspired the hope that the river 
might overflow its banks and sever the communi- 
cation between the two wings of the Federal army. 
He did not permit the rain to delay him, though 
the swollen creeks and soggy woods retarded the 
movements of his troops. 

The division commanded by D. H. Hill attacked 
Casey's division of Keyes's corps with great impetu- 
1862. osity, about one o'clock in the afternoon of May 31. 
Keyes's corps, supported later by that of Heintzel- 
man, defended their ground with gallantry and per- 
tinacity against the forces of Hill, aided and sup- 
ported by the divisions of Longstreet and Huger ; 
but when night came on, they had been forced 
back more than a mile and a half east of the posi- 
tion that they had occupied in the morning. 

The forces under Gr. W. Smith, accompanied by 
Johnston in person, were in reserve near the junc- 
tion of the New Bridge and Nine-mile roads. On 
account of a peculiar condition of the atmosphere, 
the sound of the musketry at Seven Pines had 
not reached Johnston and Smith. But about four 
o'clock Johnston, having been informed of the 
progi-ess of affairs in Longstreet's front, deter- 
mined to put Smith in upon the Union right flank, 
being by this time relieved of all fear of a re- 
enforcement from the other side of the river. 
Fortunately for the Union cause, the forces imme- 
diately opposite this position were commanded by 
General Sumner, an oflacer whose strongest traits 


■were soldierly ardor and generosity. He had been chat, xxl 
ordered, as soon as the firing began, to hold him- 
self in readiness to move to the assistance of his 
comrades at Fair Oaks ; but he gave these orders 
a liberal interpretation, and instead of merely pre- 
paring to move he at once marched with two divi- 
sions to the two bridges he had built and halted 
them, with his leading companies at the bridges. 
In this manner an hour of inestimable advantage 
was saved. The swollen river soon carried away 
one of the bridges, and the other was almost 
submerged when the order came to Sumner to 

Without delaying a moment on the west bank, 
Sumner marched through the thick mud in the 
direction of the heaviest firing and repulsed the 
attack of Smith, who had been pressing the troops 
under Couch; the latter at Fair Oaks having be- 
come separated from Keyes's main force at Seven 
Pines. This Union success was the result of Sum- 
ner's straightforward and unhesitating march. His 
appointment to the command of an army corps had 
been bitterly opposed and never forgiven by Gren- 
eral McClellan; he had been treated by his com- 
mander with studied neglect and disrespect; and 
this magnificent service was his only revenge. 
About seven o'clock the Confederates met their se- 
verest mischance of the day ; General Johnston re- 
ceived, at an interval of a few moments, two severe 
and disabling wounds. The firing ceased, "termi- 
nated by darkness only," Johnston is careful to say, 
before he had been borne a mile from the field. 
The command had devolved by seniority of rank 
upon General G. "W. Smith. 


Chap. XXI. There was great confusion and discouragement in 
the rebel councils. Jefferson Davis found hope in 
the suggestion that "the enemy might withdraw 
during the night, which would give the Confeder- 
ates the moral effect of a victory." Early on June 
first the battle was renewed, and the Union troops 
reoccupied part of the ground east of Seven Pines 
that had been lost on the day before. At two o'clock, 
after the battle had ceased. General Lee took 
command, and during the night the Confederates 

A great battle had been fought absolutely with- 
out result. The Confederates had faUed in their 
attempt to destroy McClellan's two outlying corps, 
but their failure entailed no other consequences. 
The losses were frightful upon both sides: the 
Union army, in the two days, lost 5031, and the 
Confederates 6134. But there was this enormous 
difference between the condition of the two 
armies: the Union troops south of the Chicka- 
hominy, though wearied by the conflict, with ranks 
thinned by death and wounds, had yet suffered no 
loss of morale; on the contrary, their spirits had 
been heightened by the stubborn fight of Saturday 
and the easy victory of Sunday. North of the 
river lay the larger portion of the army, which had 
not fired a gun nor lost a man in the action. 

Jackson was in the Valley of the Shenandoah, 
detaching from the main army a force of 16,000 
men. The enemy had thrown two-thirds of his 
whole force against McClellan's left wing, and had 
received more injury than he inflicted. Our right 
wing was intact; the material for bridging the 
upper Chickahominy had been ready for three 


days. Even so ardent a friend of McClellan as chap.xxi. 
tlie Prince de Joinville writes : 

The Federals had had the defensive battle they desired; 
had repulsed the enemy ; but arrested by natural obsta- 
cles which perhaps were not insurmountable, they had campasne 
gained nothing by their success. They had missed an de rArin(;e 
unique opportunity of striking a blow. ^ mac. 

w. E. 

But the next day and during the week that fol- 
lowed, the enterprise assumed so many difficulties voi.' xi., 
that McClellan could not have been expected to pp- isc isi- 
attempt it. The rains continued; the sluggish 
river became a wide-spreading flood ; the ground, 
a mixed mass of clay and quicksand, afforded no 
sure standing-place for horse, foot, or artillery; 
most of the bridges were carried away ; the army, 
virtually cut in two by the river, occupied itself in 
the arduous work of intrenching. Q-eneral Lee, the 
ablest officer in the Southern Confederacy, his 
mind put entirely at ease in regard to an immediate 
attack upon Richmond, had leisure to devote him- 
self to restoring the organization and morale of his 
army, and bringing from every side the reenforce- 
ments that he was to use with such effect a month 
later in the bloody contests from the Chicka- 
hominy to the James. 

i"The repulse of the re"bels now know that it could have been 

at Fair Oaks should have been followed into Eiohmond. Had it 

taken advantage of. It was one been so, there would have been 

of those occasions which, if not no resistance to overcome to 

seized, do not repeat themselves, bring over our right wing." — Ee- 

We now know the state of dis- port of General J. G. Barnard, 

organization and dismay in which Chief of Engineers, Army of the 

the rebel army retreated. We Potomao.W. R. XI.,Pt. I., p. 130. 


"stonewall" Jackson's valley campaign 

ch. XXII. A S we have said before, it was tlie intention 
1862. /\ of the Administration to dispatch the whole 
of McDowell's corps to reenforce MeClellan, as 
soon as the situation in Northern Virginia would 
permit. Franklin's division was so dispatched, in 
ample time to have taken part in the operations 
against Yorktown, though Q-eneral MeClellan made 
no use whatever of that fine body of troops until 
Yorktown was evacuated. Preparations were vig- 
orously made by the Grovernment for the march 
of McDowell towards Richmond, and Shields's 
division, one of the best of Banks's army, was 
ordered to reenforce him. The most important 
results were expected from such an attack as an 
officer of McDowell's ability and zeal would have 
made upon the left flank of the Confederate forces 
in front of Richmond. It is one of the admitted 
misfortunes of the war that this attack was never 
made, and the question as to who was responsible 
for it has given rise to much discussion. A simple 
statement of the facts in the ease, without imputa- 
tion of ignoble motives in any quarter, seems the 
preferable way to treat this subject. It may be 
profitable for a moment to consider the character 


of that remarkable man, whose campaign in the oh. xxii. 
Shenandoah Valley produced this derangement of 
the plans of the Government. 

General Thomas Jonathan (commonly called 
" Stonewall " ) Jackson was by far the most inter- 
esting and picturesque figure in the Southern army. 
His brilliant successes and his early death en- 
shrined him in the hearts of his associates as their 
foremost champion ; while the intense religious 
enthusiasm which appeared in all his public and 
private utterances added the halo of the saint to the 
laurels of the hero. In what we shall have to say 
in regard to this singular character, we shall refer 
to no facts except those recorded by Confederate 
writers, and. although we may not be able to accept 
all their conclusions, it cannot be contested that 
General Jackson was a man of extraordinary qual- 
ities, and a soldier whose successes were due no 
less to his abilities than to his good fortune and 
the mistakes of his adversaries. 

Though connected with a family of fair standing 
in Virginia, his father died poor, after wasting his ^ ^ j^^^ 
substance in drink and play ; the boy grew up in the °'5^ff and 
care of relatives, twice running away from the roof o^'^StM.^ 
which sheltered him and returning " soiled, ragged, miomas x 
and emaciated by the ague." His early education "^p. ie. ' 
was defective ; he earned his living by hard labor, iwa., p. 21. 
and for a time served as a rural constable until he 
accidentally received an appointment to the Mili- 
tary Academy at "West Point. He is remembered by 
his contemporaries there as a slow, dull, unprepos- 
sessing youth, of great correctness of conduct and 
untiring industry in his studies. He served credit- 
ably in the Mexican war, and soon after it ended 


ch. xsii. resigned his place in the army and became a 
teacher in the Virginia Military School at Lexing- 
ton, where he lived for ten years. He was not 
p. 63. ' especially popular or successful as a teacher ; his 
manner was lacking in tact, his character in flexi- 
bility. Had the war not come to call him forth to 
glory and the grave, he would probably have lived 
and died in that mountain village known only to 
his neighbors, to use Dr. Dabney's expression, "as a 
p. 112. sincere, odd, weak man." We find in the writings of 
several of his eulogists, indications of singularities 
which border upon monomania. Colonel Preman- 
tle says, on the authority of the Confederate Gren- 
eral Slaughter, " When he left the United States 
service he was under the impression that one of 
his legs was getting shorter than the other ; and 
afterwards his idea was that he only perspired on 
one side, and that it was necessary to keep the arm 
and leg of the other side in constant motion in 
order to preserve the circulation." 

But the war was his opportunity. There was 
not a quality of heart, mind, or temperament which 
he possessed that did not contribute to his success 
and his fame. Even his weaknesses ministered to 
his strength. He had been a sufferer from ophthal- 
mia and could not use his eyes at night; he had 
therefore acquired the habit of reviewing mentally 
all the reading of the day, while sitting silent in 
the midst of his family with his face to the wall, 
and had thus gained a remarkable power of con- 
centration of thought and memory of details. His 
digestion in his youth was feeble and capricious ; 
he had for that reason accustomed himself to the 
utmost abstemiousness ; and it was no sacrifice to 


him to share the meager fare of his soldiers on the ch. xxii. 
march. But the quality which gained for him 
much of his influence in the army, and which con- 
tributed most largely to that sentiment of devotion 
with which his memory is regarded in the South 
and in England, was his intense rehgious enthu- 
siasm. Anything like it is rarely met with in 
modern times.; we must go back to the ages of 
unquestioning faith, to Philip II., to Torquemada, 
to find a parallel to it. He believed himself to 
be under the immediate and partisan protection 
of his Creator; he believed, and his biographer 
thinks the belief perfectly reasonable, that Heaven 
helped him plan his campaigns and battles; his p. mf' 
Creator was ever present to his mind, in his own 
image — as good a Southerner, as earnest a hater 
of the Yankees, as stern a fighter, as himself. He 
conversed with Him constantly ; he interpreted Ut- 
erally the injunction to "pray without ceasing." ^wl 
" When we take our meals," he would say, " there 
is the grace. When I take a draught of water, I 
always pause, as my palate receives the refresh- 
ment, to lift up my heart to God in thanks and 
prayer for the water of life. Whenever I drop a 
letter into the box of the post-office, I send a peti- 
tion along with it for Grod's blessing upon its mis- 
sion and upon the person to whom it is sent. 
When I break the seal of a letter just received, I 
stop to pray to God that He may prepare me for its 
contents, and make it a messenger of good. And 
so of every other familiar act of the day." A great 
part of his time in the saddle was passed in the 
act of prayer. A hundred times a day he would be 
seen to throw his right hand aloft and to move his 


CH. XXII. lips in sUent supplication. His constant entreaty 
to his friends was that they should continually 
pray that he might be the instrument to wreak 
Heaven's purposes upon his adversaries.-^ He be- 
lieved himself selected especially for the work he 
was doing ; he was a hammer in the hands of Grod 
for the destruction of the ungodly. The firmest 
convictions of religious duty were easily recon- 
ciled with the exigencies of the, military service 
which seemed to violate them. He was a fanatical 
Sabbatarian; he would not read a letter, which 
arrived Saturday night, until Monday; he would 
not post one in such a way that it would travel on 
the Sabbath. Yet he would not scruple to bring 
on a bloody battle on Sunday, if he could catch 
his enemy at a disadvantage ; in that case, of course, 
it was the Lord's will. When he was sent to de- 
stroy some railroad property, he thought with regret 
how many Bibles could have been printed with the 
v^S' proceeds ; but none the less he destroyed it. 

The self-consciousness inseparable from such a 
temperament took with him its usual contrasted 
forms of shyness and vanity. His biographer quotes 
him as relating that when in Mexico he made the 
acquaintance of some agreeable Spanish families, 
but finding the ladies too fascinating, " he firmly 
withdrew himself, before his self-respect was tar- 

ibid., p. 66. nished." There were no bounds to his bashful 
self-conceit. He did not scruple to say, on every 

1 Lieut.-Col. Fremantle quotes large army, yet he was gifted 

General J. E. Johnston as saying, with wonderful courage and de- 

" that although this extraordi- termination, and a perfect faith 

nary man did not possess any in Providence that he was des- 

great qualifications as a strate- tined to destroy his enemy." — 

gist, and was perhaps unfit for " Three Months in the Southern 

the independent command of a States," p. 125. 


occasion where the feasibility of certain accomplish- ch. xxii. 
ments was referred to, "I can accomplish anything 
I will to perform." In matters of trivial concern, ^^nJ' 
such as diet and drink, he held himself np as a 
model. " Do as I do," he would say ; " my head 
never aches." When he first began to lead in public 
prayer his excessive self-consciousness made the 
effort painful to himself and others — but none the 
less he persevered. It was especially characteristic 
of him that he ascribed to the Deity the credit of 
all that was done for him. At every promotion he 
received, he burst forth into ardent ejaculations of 
praise to Heaven ; none of God's creatures ever 
received his thanks. When he got his first impor- 
tant command, he said, " I am very thankful to my 
kind heavenly Father for having given me such a 
fine brigade." After Bull Eun, nettled at not having ibid., p. 200. 
got what he deemed his fair share of newspaper 
notice, he wrote to his wife, " God made my brigade 
more instrumental than any other in repulsing the 
main attack"; and again, "My brigade is not a Tbi6i.,v.m. 
brigade of newspaper correspondents. I know that 
the First Brigade was the first to meet and pass our 
retreating forces, to push on with no other aid than 
the smiles of God, to arrest the victorious foe," etc., 
etc. Later, when the honors he had so fairly won 
began to come to him, he wrote, "I am very thank- 
ful to that good God who withholds no good thing 
from me (though I am so utterly unworthy and so 
ungrateful) for making me a major-general of the 
provisional army of the Confederate States." His 
joy at his promotion, however, did not prevent him 
from saying to his pastor, who was visiting his 
camp, that " promotion among men was a tempta- 


ch. xxn. tion and a trouble" and that he would not accept 
^^^^^' it except in the light of a duty. He seemed in- 
capable of gratitude to anything mortal; remind- 
ing one of Philip II., who built a monastery to 
God and St. Laurence to commemorate a victory 
and sent the generals who had won it to the 

His efforts at evangelizing the negroes, of which 
so much is made by his eulogists, had a peculiar 
character. He established and carried on a Sunday 
school for them with unflinching zeal, but he was 
too sincere an adherent of slavery to give anything 

Ibid., p. 93. but oral instruction ; the alphabet was too danger- 
ous an engine to trust in their hands; they received 
their hymns, catechisms, and texts directly from 
the lips of their teachers — as was the general 
custom in the South. Yet on one occasion he 
went among the free blacks and encouraged them 
to contribute out of their poverty for the funds of 

Ibid., p. 96. the Bible Society. Professor Dabney says, " He 
required aU his slaves to attend the domestic wor- 
ship of his family, morning and evening ; and suc- 
ceeded, where so many Christian masters have found 
entire success apparently impossible, in securing 
the presence of every one." But in the same para- 
graph, the eulogist naively gives the key of his 
success: "Absolute obedience was the rule of 
his household ; and if he found chastisement was 
necessary to secure this, it was faithfully admin- 
istered." In aU these singular traits of character we 
discern a striking resemblance to another of the 
remarkable personages of this great conflict. If 
John Brown of Ossawatomie had been bred in. a 
slave State and had received a West Point training, 



it is hard to see in what particular lie would have 
differed from Stonewall Jackson,* 

It was natural that such a character as this should 
play a great part in a civil war. With his early 
training to the military art, his knowledge of details 
rendered unusually accurate by ten years of teach- 
ing, his memory extraordinarily strengthened by 
the exercise to which it had been subjected, a tem- 
perament of the greatest eagerness and ardor in the 
pursuit of his purposes, a will of iron, an energy 
which knew no fatigue and required no stimulus, a 
devotion to the supposed interests of his section 
heightened by his frank hatred and contempt of his 
enemy,^ a feeling of invincibility and a disregard 
of danger natural to one who had no doubt of the 
continual presence of the Lord of Hosts by his 
side, helping him plant his batteries and array his 
columns for attack, and above all, an intense love of 
fighting for its own sake, and for the sake of fame, 
for which he longed with a devouring thirst ; ^ all 

Ch. XXII. 

1 Lite John Brown lie had faith 
in pikes as effective weapons in 
default of guns ; and at the be- 
ginning of his Valley Campaign 
made a requisition for a thousand, 
which General Lee ordered to be 
sent him. — Lee to Gorgas, April 
9, 1862. W. R. Vol. Xn., 
Part m., pp. 844, 845. 

2 The singular ferocity of hatred 
towards his adversaries is shown 
in an anecdote which would be 
incredible if it were related by 
one less intimate and less devo- 
ted than Jackson's adjutant and 
biographer, E. L. Dabney, D. D. 
Once, in Jackson's presence, Col. 
Patton expressed his admiration 
of the bravery of a Federal squad 
who had aU been suiTounded and 

killed in a gallant charge. He 
said he was sorry to see suoh gal- 
lant men destroyed. " The gen- 
eral drily remarked, ' No ; shoot 
them all. I do not wish them to 
be brave.' " The reverend major 
relates this story with the great- 
est unction. He also states and 
defends Jackson's opinion that it 
was the true policy of the South 
to take no prisoners alive. — 
Dabney, pp. 397 and 192. 

3 Dabney relates that on one 
occasion in conversation with a 
friend, referring to his certain 
prospects of eternal felicity, he 
said, " 'I would not agree to the 
slightest diminution of one shade 
of my glory there ' — here he 
paused, as though to consider 

"Life of 
p. 277. 


CH. XXII. these qualities combined to make him the first of 
the subordinate Southern leaders, a soldier in- 
comparable for any employment where energy, 
celerity, and audacity were desired. 

He won great credit at the battle of Bull Run, 
but his first independent campaign resulted in sig- 
nal defeat. In March, 1862, he was ordered by 
Greneral Johnston to occupy the attention of Banks 
in the Shenandoah VaUey. He advanced rapidly 
in pursuance of what he understood to be the spirit 
of his orders, and came in view of Shields's division 
at Kernstown, near Winchester, on the 22d of 
March. A brief skirmish took place that evening, 
in the course of which General Shields was severely 
wounded, his arm being broken by the fragment of 
a shell. He retired to Winchester, and General 
Nathan Kimball remained on the field in active 
command of the division. The next day, although 
it was Sunday, Jackson, thinking he had his enemy 
at a disadvantage, and unaware either of his num- 
bers or his disposition, attacked Kimball with great 
impetuosity, but met with a severe repulse. Kim- 
ball, Trho was ably seconded by Colonels Jeremiah 
C. Carroll and Erastus B. Tyler, not only beat off 
the attack of Jackson from both his flanks, but 
at the right moment assumed the offensive, and 
after a hotly contested fight, lasting two hours, as 

what terrestrial measure he might But he did not fail to notice the 
best select to express the large- revelation made of Jackson's 
ness of his joys — ' no ; not for master passion by nature, in 
all the fame which I have ae- the object he had chosen to 
quired, or shall ever win in this express the value of his heaven- 
world.' With these words he ly inheritance. It was fame ! 
sank into his chair, and his friend Not wealth, nor domestic joys, 
retired awestruck as though he nor literature, but weU-eamed 
had seen the face of an angel, fame!" 


Note : The crossed line aud arroM's iudioate JackHoii's movements in tlie Valley. 


night was elosing in lie completely defeated the ch. xxii. 
Confederates, who were driven from the field, 
leaving their dead and wounded and several guns. 
Banks, coming from Harper's Ferry the next day, 
continued the pursuit up the Valley as far as 
Mount Jackson. Shields's division in this action 
numbered about 7000; Jackson reported his own 
force as between 3000 and 3500. The losses re- 
ported on each side are : Shields 590, Jackson 718. 
Jackson frankly acknowledged his defeat, saying 
to Johnston: 

I engaged him [the enemy] yesterday, about 3 P. M,, near 
Winchester, and fought until dusk, but his forces were 
so superior to mine that he repulsed me with the loss of Jackson to 
valuable officers and men killed and wounded ; but from Mmch™! 
the obstinacy with which our troops fought, and from ^f^ 
their advantageous position, I am of the opinion that his ^^j^' 
loss was greater than mine in troops, but I lost one piece p- 379. ' 
of artillery and three caissons. 

Jackson's second campaign in the Shenandoah, 
which gained him in full measure that fame and 
position which were so near to his heart, occupied 
about a month. It may be said to have begun in 
his attack upon General Milroy's forces at Mc- wea. 
Dowell on the 8th of May. In this affair, as in 
every battle of this famous campaign, he had much 
larger forces than those opposed to him — a fact 
entirely to his credit; there were Union troops 
enough in the department, if they had been prop- 
erly brought together, to have overwhelmed him. 
After a fight of several hours he defeated Milroy, 
who fell back to join Fremont at the town of 
Franklin, while Jackson moved eastward to Har- 
risonburg. On the way he sent dispatches to Eich- 
VoL. v.— 26 


ch. xxri. mond, detailing the position of the Union troops, 
and asking permission to attack them. This was 
granted, and he at once began a swift and stealthy 
march through New Market and Luray to Front 
Eoyal. It was at this time that McClellan was 
daily clamoring for reenforcements from Washing- 
ton; and the Government, yielding to his impor- 
tunity, had promised that McDowell's corps should 
march overland to join him. The reasons why this 
promise could not be kept are best set forth in the 
following dispatch from Mr. Lincoln, whose com- 
munications to his generals were always clearer 
and more definite than any that he received from 
them. It is dated May 25 : 

General Banks was at Strasburg with about 6000 
men, Shields having been taken from him to swell a 
column for McDowell to aid you at Richmond, and the 
rest of his force scattered at various places. On the 23d 
a rebel force of 7000 to 10,000 fell upon one regiment and 
two companies guarding the bridge at Front Eoyal, de- 
stroying it entirely ; crossed the Shenandoah, and on the 
24th (yesterday) pushed on to get north of Banks, on the 
road to Winchester. General Banks ran a race with them, 
beating them into Winchester yesterday evening. This 
morning a battle ensued between the two forces, in which 
General Banks was beaten back into full retreat toward 
Martinsburg, and probably is broken up into a total rout. 
Geary, on the Manassas Gap Railroad, just now reports 
that Jackson is now near Front Royal with ten thousand 
troops, following up and supporting, as I understand, the 
force now pursuing Banks. Also that another force of ten 
thousand is near Orleans, following on in the same direc- 
tion. [In this Geary was mistaken. Jackson's and Swell's 
forces amounted to 16,000 or 17,000.] Stripped bare, as we 
are here, I will do aU we can to prevent them crossing the 
Potomac at Harper's Ferry or above. McDowell has 
about twenty thousand of his forces moving back to the 


vicinity of Front Royal, and Fremont, who was at Frank- ch. xxii. 
lin, is moving to Harrisonburg; both these movements 
intended to get in the enemy's rear. 

One more of McDowell's brigades is ordered through 
here to Harper's Ferry ; the rest of his forces remain for 
the present at Fredericksburg. We are sending such 
regiments and dribs from here and Baltimore as we can 
spare to Harper's Ferry, supplying their places in some 
sort by calling in militia from the adjacent States. We 
also have eighteen cannon on the road to Harper's Ferry, 
of which arm there is not a single one at that point. This 
is now our situation. 

If McDowell's force was now beyond our reach, we 
should be entirely helpless. Apprehensions of something 
like this, and no unwillingness to sustain you, have al- 
ways been my reason for withholding McDowell's forces voi.' xi., 
from you. Please understand this, and do the best you pp.^31,32. 
can with the forces you have. 

Later in tlie day, the President, now sure that 
a large and formidable army was drawing near 
the Potomac, wrote a sharp dispatch to McClellan 
urging him either to take this opportunity to " at- 
tack Eichmond or give up the job"; to which the iwd.,p.32. 
general replied calmly that " the object of the 
movement is probably to prevent reenforcements 
being sent to me," and that the time was very near it,id.,p. 32. 
when he would attack Eichmond. 

The campaign, opened thus inauspiciously for 
the Union arms, went rapidly from bad to worse. 
A series of doleful mischances succeeded, unrelieved 
by a ray of good fortune or good conduct. Mr. 
Lincoln, at Washington, was exerting himself to the 
utmost, sending a dozen dispatches a day to Banks, 
Fremont, McDowell, and McClellan — all admirable 
in clearness, intelligence, and temper, always direct- 
ing the right thing to be done and the best way of 
doing it ; but nothing seemed to avaU. 


ch. XXII. The original surprise was inexcusable. On the 
w. R. 20th of May Fremont had reported to Banks that 

P^rt^iii.; Jackson was on the way to attack him, but no 
proper preparation was made. After the defeat at 
1862. Front Royal on the 23d, and at Winchester on the 
25th, while Banks was in retreat to the Potomac, 
the only thought of the President was to stop 
Jackson at the river, and to detain him until a 
sufficient force could be gathered in the neighbor- 
hood of Strasburg to destroy or capture him on his 
return. Fremont was ordered to cross the moun- 
tains to Harrisonburg and come north down the 
Valley with his force. McDowell, with a competent 
detachment under Shields, was ordered to Front 
Eoyal ; the victorious force of Jackson was met by 
a considerable army at the Potomac. These last 
were mostly raw levies not inured to marching 
or to fighting; but they accomplished their pur- 
pose of delaying for the moment the advance of 

Dabney, fl •' - __. 

p. 386. Jackson towards W ashmgton. His own intention, 
as well as his orders from Richmond, were, in the 
language of General Dabney, " to press the enemy 
at Harper's Ferry, threaten an invasion of Mary- 
land, and an assault upon the Federal capital, and 
"p.T^f' thus make the most energetic diversion possible." 
But on the 29th, while at Halltown, preparing for 
an attack upon Harper's Ferry, he received infor- 
mation of the movement of troops that had been 
ordered by the President, which, as Dabney says, 
"imperiously required him" to give up that attack 
" and provide for his own safety." He then began 
his precipitate retreat up the Valley, which by its 
celerity and success gained him even more credit 
than did his audacious advanc& 


It ought not to have been allowed to succeed ; it ch. xxii. 
was perfectly feasible to prevent it. Had the plain 
orders of the President been obeyed, Jackson could 
not have escaped from the predicament where his 
headlong energy and his contempt for his adver- 
saries had placed him. It is idle to talk of his in- 
vincibility; he was generally^ whipped, like other 
men, when the conditions were not favorable to 
him. He was defeated severely at Kernstown, in 
March, when he had been confident of victory; later, 
at Graines's MUl, he did not particularly distinguish 
himself above others ; at White Oak Swamp bridge 
and Malvern Hill his inefllciency in large tactics 
was recognized and severely criticized by generals 
on his own side; and Banks, with one-third his 
force, gave him all the work he could do at Cedar 
Mountain. If Fremont and McDowell had met 
him at Strasburg, and Banks had followed upon 
his heels, as Mr. Lincoln had clearly and explicitly 
ordered, nothing could have prevented the capture 
or destruction of his entire command. Each of 
these generals had his task assigned him ; it was in 
each case perfectly practicable. It involved only 
an expeditious march to the neighborhood of Stras- 
burg, over roads more or less rough, undisturbed 
by the presence of an enemy in any considerable 

General McDowell's part of the work was per- 
formed with his habitual energy and promptitude, 
notwithstanding the chagrin and displeasure with 
which he received his orders. Near evening of the 
24th of May the President sent him a dispatch 1862. 
informing him that Fremont had been ordered by 
telegraph to move from Franklin on Harrisonburg, 


ch. XXII. to relieve Banks, and capture or destroy Jackson's 
and Ewell's forces. Mr. Lincoln continued : 

You are instructed, laying aside for the present the 
movement on Richmond, to put 20,000 men in motion at 
once for the Shenandoah, moving on the line or in advance 
of the line of the Manassas Gap Railroad. Tour object 
will be to capture the forces of Jackson and Ewell, either 
in cooperation with General Fremont or. in case want of 
supplies or of transportation interferes with his move- 
ments, it is believed that the force with which you move 
will be sufficient to accomplish this object alone. The 
information thus far received here makes it probable that 
^ jj if the enemy operate actively against General Banks you 
Vol- xii., will not be able to count upon much assistance from him, 
p. 219. ' but may even have to release him. 

It is remarkable that the President saw the situa- 
May25,i862. tlou with such accuTacy the day before Banks's 

defeat at Winchester. 
voYxii., This order McDowell, though he called it "a 

Part Til 

p. 220. ■' crushing blow," obeyed at once, directing Shields 
to take up his march to Catlett's, a station on the 
Orange and Alexandria road, about half way 
between Fredericksburg and Front Royal, and re- 
porting that he had done so. The President sent 
him an acknowledgment of his alacrity, at the same 
time expressing his regret at the change of his 
orders, and adding, "Everything now depends 

Ibid. upon the celerity and vigor of your movements." 
This encouraged the general to make an earnest 
though respectful protest, which he sent the same 
night to the President, setting forth his belief that 
cooperation between himself and Fremont was not 

™d. to be counted upon ; that it would take him a week 
or ten days to get to the Valley ; that by that time 
the enemy would have retired. We shall see later 


that these forebodings, at least, were not realized, ch. xxir. 
At the same time he telegraphed to Wadsworth, May 24,1862. 
in command at Washington, his deep disgust ; he 
did not think the rebel force in the mountains voT'xii., 
amounted to five thousand men. But with all this p. 221. " 
grumbhng his deeds were better than his words ; he 
pushed Shields forward with the greatest celerity. 
Shields, who was burning to go to Eichmond, 
marched obediently, but in very bad humor. The 
dispatches of this officer read like a burlesque of 
those of his superior. He is loud in contempt of 
both armies in the Shenandoah. He thought when 
the movement first began that there was nothing 
in it ; that the enemy would never come north ; that 
if they did, they would be hemmed in and destroyed. 
As late as the 10th of May he was sure " they were 1862. 
not there to fight." As he went forward to Front ^ ^ 
Eoyal his boasting spirit asserted itself more and part^ii.; 
more. " I want no assistance," he said. He prom- ^' 
ised to give Jackson "a bloody reception," to " drive „^ May 
the enemy from the Shenandoah," and wanted to ^^^1 
know if there was anything else he could do for the ?art^";; 
President — the task in question being apparently pp-^I^;^'**' 
unworthy of his powers. 

But neither the chagrin of McDowell nor the 
gasconading of Shields prevented them from striv- 
ing with all their might to do the work assigned 
them. The President kept McDowell constantly 
informed of the condition of affairs, detailing the 
progress of Jackson northward, and urging the 
value and importance of the service expected of 
the Union troops. McDowell showed himself, as 
he always was, worthy of the confidence reposed in 
him. In spite of all obstacles — accidents by rail, 


ch. XXII. bad roads, and rougli weather — he got Shields's 
1862. advance into Front Royal on the 30th of May; 
that is, in little more than half the time he thought 
he should require for the purpose. The same day 
the President sent him a dispatch from Fremont 
saying that he would be at Strasburg, or where the 
enemy was, at 4 p. m., May 31 ; and another from 
Saxton at Harper's Ferry, indicating that the 
enemy was still there. The President added, with 

voYxii., justifiable exultation, "It seems the game is be- 

Part III!,' n <. 

pp. 291, 292. tore you." 

It remains to be seen how General Fremont ex- 
ecuted his share of the task. On the 24th the 
n,id., President gave him an urgent order to move at 
^p^^J." once, by way of Harrisonburg, to the relief of 
Banks. He promptly replied that he would "move 
Ibid. as ordered"; but made the unfortunate error of 
choosing an entirely different route from the one 
assigned him. Thinking the road to Harrisonburg 

Ibid., p. 11. was more or less obstructed, and off his line of 
supplies, he moved northward by way of Peters- 
burg and Moorefield, in the great valley lying west 
of the Shenandoah Mountains, and did not even 
inform the President of this discretionary modifica- 
tion of his orders, so that, on the 27th, when they 
were anxiously expecting at "Washington to hear 
from him at Harrisonburg, they were astounded at 
receiving tidings from him at Moorefield, two good 

Ibid., p. m. days' march from the line of Jackson's retreat, and 
separated by two counties and the Shenandoah 
range from the place where he was desired and 
expected to be. In response to the President's 
peremptory question why he was at Moorefield 
when he was ordered to Harrisonburg, he made an 



unsatisfactory reply, alleging the necessity of his 
choice of route, and his assumed discretion as to 
his orders. Dropping this matter, the President 
began again urging him forward to Strasburg. 
There was still time to repair the original error. 
Jackson was on the Potomac, much farther from 
the rendezvous than Fremont. But the latter could 
not be made to see the vital necessity of immediate 
action — his men were weary, his supplies were 
deficient, the roads were bad ; Blenker's corps was 
straggling badly. Finally, on the 29th of May, his 
medical director told him his army needed a whole 
day's rest. 

He promptly accepted this suggestion, and wasted 
twenty-four hours in this manner, while Jackson 
was rushing his ragged troops, who had known no 
rest for a month, up the narrow vaUey that formed 
his only outlet from destruction or captivity. In one 
day, says Dabney, the Stonewall Brigade marched 
from Halltown to the neighborhood of Newton, a 
distance of thirty-five miles ; and the Second Vir- 
ginia accomplished a march of more than forty miles 
without rations, over muddy roads and amidst con- 
tinual showers. The race was to the swift. As 
Fremont's advance entered Strasburg on the 1st of 
June the rear-guard of Jackson's force was still in 
sight, leaving the place. The plan of the President, 
well combined and reasonable as it was, had failed 
though no fault of his, and Jackson had escaped. 

It is the contention of General McClellan and his 
partisans that the plan could not possibly have 
succeeded. One critic disposes of the matter by a 
sneer at the thought of trapping "the wily fox, who 
was master of every gap and gorge in the Valley." 

Ch. XXII. 

Lincoln to 


May 26, 1862. 

W. E. 

Vol. XII., 

Part I., 

p. 647. 

pp. 12, 13. 

p. 388. 



of the 


p. 126. 



Ch. XXII. 


p. 404. 


Vol. XII., 

Part I., 

pp. 22, 24. 

Part III., 

p. 375. 

But an army of sixteen thousand men of all arms is 
not a fox; it must have roads to cross mountains, and 
bridges to pass over rivers. If Fremont had obeyed 
orders and had been where he should have been on 
the 30th of May, and if Banks and Saxton had kept 
a closer watch at Harper's Ferry and followed more 
immediately upon Jackson's rear, Jackson would 
have been surrounded at Strasburg by three times 
his own force, and would have been captured or 
his army dispersed and destroyed. This would 
have been richly worth aL. its cost, and the most 
captious or malevolent critic would have had noth- 
ing to say against the President who ordered it. 

There was little prospect of defeating Jackson 
after he had slipped through the gap between Fre- 
mont and McDowell at Strasburg; but nevertheless 
an energetic pursuit was begun by Fremont up the 
Shenandoah and by part of Shields's division up 
the Luray Valley on the east, the former harass- 
ing Jackson's rear with almost daily skirmishes, 
and the latter running a race with him on a parallel 
line. There was hardly a possibility now of regain- 
ing the lost opportunity. No matter how severely 
pressed, it was almost surely in Jackson's power to 
escape across Brown's Gap to Albemarle County, 
where he would for a time be safe from pursuit ; 
and this course, says Dabney, was in his mind 
as a final resort. But he was not even driven 
to this. There was one last chance of inflicting 
great damage upon him. One of Shields's brigades 
arrived at the bridge at Port Republic before him, 
and should either have taken and held or destroyed 
it. The ofBcer in command did neither, and the 
bridge immediately after fell into Jackson's hands, 



giving him command of both sides of the river, ch. xxii. 
The Confederate general and his adjutant and 
biographer ascribed the capture of this important 
position to supernatural means. 

As soon as Jackson uttered his command [to seize the 
bridge] he drew np his horse, and, dropping the reins 
upon his neck, raised both his hands towards the heavens, 
while the fire of battle in his face changed into a look of 
reverential awe. Even while he prayed, the God of bat- 
tles heard ; or ever he had withdrawn his uplifted hands, 
the bridge was gained. 

p. 413. 

W. R. 
Vol. XII., 
Part III., 

p. 354. 

It would perhaps be irreverent to add that the 
bridge vs^as not defended. On the same day, June 
8, he fought a sharp but indecisive battle with 
Fremont at Cross Keys, and retiring in the night, 
he attacked and defeated Shields's small detachment 
at Port Republic. The mismanagement of the 
Union generals had opposed to him on both days 
forces greatly inferior to his own. Before these 
battles were fought the President, seeing that fur- 
ther pursuit was useless, had ordered Shields back 
to McDowell, Fremont to halt at Harrisonburg for 
orders, and Banks to guard the posts of Front Royal pp. m5, sii. 
and Luray. The orders came too late to prevent 
two unfortunate engagements, but they showed 
that the civilian at Washington was wiser than the 
two generals at the front. They both passed there- 
after into the ranks of the malcontents — the men 
with grievances. Shields went back to Washing- 
ton, where he was received with open arms by the 
habitual critics of the President. Among them 
were those of his own household ; for we read in warden, 
Mr. Chase's diary that Shields told him, when he s! p." 

•' ' Cbase," 

was ordered back, that "Jackson's capture was ?•***• 


CH. XXII. certain," and tlie general and the Secretary held 
harmonious council together over the " terrible 
mistakes " of the President. This was the last im- 
portant service of Fremont. He remained in 
charge of his department a few weeks longer, un- 
til he was placed, with others of similar rank, under 
the general command of Pope. He refused to serve 
under his junior, and was relieved, not appearing 
again in any conspicuous position, except for a 
moment in the summer of 1864, as a candidate for 
the Presidency in opposition to Mr. Lincoln. 



AFTER the battle of Fair Oaks, as well as before ch. xxiii. 
Xjl. it, General MoClellan kept up his continual 1862. 
cry for reenforcements. The hallucination that the 
enemy's force was double his own had become 
fixed upon him, and all his plans and combinations 
were poisoned by this fatal error. The President 
did everything in his power to satisfy the general's 
unreasonable demands. He resolved to give him 
absolute control of all the troops on the Peninsula ; 
and knowing that General Wool would never con- 
sent to being placed under McCleUan's orders, — 
that veteran having expressed himself with char- 
acteristic severity in regard to his junior's insatiable 
demand for troops, — the President thought best to 
remove General Wool to Baltimore, transferring 
General Dix to Port Monroe and placing him under 
the direct command of McClellan — a proceeding 
which greatly displeased General Dix, but to which vS.' f i., 
he yielded under protest. His displeasure did not ^p"^™'' 
interfere with his convictions of duty. Imme- 
diately on arriving at Fort Monroe he sent to Gen- 
eral McClellan a reenforcement of ten of the best 
regiments there. No efforts were spared to help p. 221. 
and to encourage McClellan; both the President 


ch. XXIII. and the Secretary of War were perpetually sending 
him kind and complimentary messages in addition 
to the troops and guns which they gathered in from 
every quarter for him. A few days after Fair Oaks, 
in response to his repeated entreaties, McCaU's di- 
vision of McDowell's corps, a splendid body of 
about ten thousand men, was dispatched to him. 
He was for the moment delighted at hearing that 
these troops were coming; and having thus ob- 
tained the greater part of McDowell's corps, he 
i«G2. said, June 7: 

I am glad to learn that you are pressing forward reen- 

forcements so vigorously. I shall be in perfect readiness 

w. E. to move forward and take Richmond the moment McCall 

^Fanl' reaches here and the ground will admit the passage of 

P- *s- artillery. 

McCall and his perfectly appointed division of 
ten thousand men and five batteries of artillery 
began to arrive on the 11th, and were all present for 
duty on the 13th ; and as if Providence were uniting 
with the Government to satisfy both the general's 
requirements, he was able to telegraph on the 12th : 

Ibid., " Weather now good. Roads and ground rapidly 

p^'225"" drying." The weather continued remarkably fine 
for several days ; Greneral Keyes on the 15th re- 
ported White Oak Swamp dried up so as to be f ord- 

p. 229: able in many places. But the dry spell did not last, 
and on the night of the 15th, Greneral McClellan 
sends to Washington a note of lamentation saying 
that the rain has begun again, which will "retard 

i,,id, our movements somewhat." It is characteristic of 
him that he always regarded bad weather as exclu- 
sively injurious to him, and never to the other side. 
The President once said of him that he seemed to 


think, in defiance of Scripture, tliat Heaven sent its ch. xxiir. 

rain only on tlie just and not on the unjust. To an 

energetic general all kinds of weather have their 

uses. Johnston did not allow the terrible storm 

of May 30 to prevent his attack at Seven Pines ; 1862. 

and we have seen how Grant at the very outset 

of his career, speaking of the bad weather and the 

wretched roads on which he had to march, said : 

" This, however, will operate worse upon the ^"ot 

enemy . . . than upon us." 

It must not be forgotten that, although McClellan 
and his apologists have been for years denouncing 
the Government for having withheld from him 
McDowell's corps, the best part of that corps was 
actually sent to him. Franklin's magnificent di- 
vision went to him in April, McCall's equally fine 
division was dispatched to him before the middle 
of June. In each case he said he only awaited the 
coming of that particular division to undertake 
immediate active operations ; and in each case, on 
the arrival of the eagerly demanded reenf orcements, 
he did nothing but wait the good pleasure of the 
enemy. His own official reports show that he re- 
ceived by way of reenforcements, after his arrival 
in the Peninsula and prior to the 15th of June, not 1862. 
less than 39,441 men, of whom there were 32,360 voi.'xi., 
present for duty. Yet all this counted for nothing p. 230. " 
with him ; he let hardly a day pass without clamor- 
ing for more. He was not even inclined to allow 
the Administration any discretion in regard to the 
manner in which he was to be reenforced. He in- 
sisted that McDowell should be sent to him by 
water, and not by land, so that he should come in 
by his rear instead of by his right flank ; and when 


ch. xxiii. he was informed that McCall's force was expected 

to be restored to McDowell's corps, when that army 

joined him, he bitterly resented it. He said it did 

not show a proper spirit in McDowell ; and added 

sullenly, " If I cannot fully control all his troops, I 

want none of them, but would prefer to fight the 

voT'xi battle with what I have, and let others be respon- 

^p\l" sible for the results." These petulant outbursts 

were met with unwearied patience and kindness on 

1862. the part of the President. On the 15th of June he 


The Secretary of War has tvirned over to me your dis- 
patch about sending McDowell to you by water, instead 
of by land. I now fear he cannot get to you either way 
in time. Shields's division has got so terribly out of 
shape, out at elbows, and out at toes, that it will require 
a long time to get it in again. I expect to see McDowell 
within a day or two, when I will again talk with Tijtti 
about the mode of moving. McCaU's division has nearly 
or quite reached you by now. This, with what you get 
from General Wool's old command, and the new regi- 
ments sent you, must give you an increase, since the late 
battles, of over twenty thousand. Doubtless the battles, 
and other causes, have decreased you half as much in the 
same time ; but then the enemy have lost as many in the 
same way. I believe I would come and see you were it 
not that 1 fear my presence might divert you and the 
MS. ' army from more important matters. 

From this it will be seen that McClellan had no 
right to delay operations an hour after McCall's 
arrival from any pretended expectation of the im- 
mediate coming of McDowell; and, indeed, he 
admits in his report ^ that as early as the 7th of 

1 "As I did not think itprobable going dispatch [of June 7] that I 

that any reenforcements would should be ready to move when 

be sent me in time for the advance General MoCaU's division joined 

onEichmond, Istatedinthefore- me." — W.K.Vol.XI.,PartI.,p.46. 




June he had given up any such expectation. "With ch. xxin. 
no reason, therefore, for delay, but with every con- 
ceivable incentive to action, with an army amount- 
ing, after McCall joined him, to the imposing figure 
of 156,838, of whom an aggregate present of 127,327 
is reported by McClellan himself as of the 20th of 
June, — though he makes a reduction to 114,691 voi.' xi., 
of those " present for duty equipped," — he wasted p- 238. '' 
the month of June in a busy and bustling activity 1862. 
which was in its results equivalent to mere idle- 
ness. He was directly invited to attack by the fine 
weather of the middle of the month, which he de- 
scribes as " splendid " in a dispatch of the 17th, and ii)ia.,p. 232. 
by the absence of Stonewall Jackson in the Valley 
with his 16,000 veterans, reenforced by 10,000 
troops from Lee's army, as McClellan himself be- 
lieved and reported on the 18th. The President, M"!- 
by a dispatch of the same date, urged him to take 
advantage of this opportunity, saying : 

If this is true, it is as good as a reenf oreement to you 
of an equal force. I could better dispose of things if I 
could know about what day you can attack Richmond, 
and would be glad to be informed, if you think you can ii3id.,p.233. 
inform me with safety. 

The terms in which Greneral McClellan answered 
this inquiry are worthy of quotation as an illustra- 
tion of that air of energy and determination which 
he so often introduced into the expression of his 
intentions, while leaving, as in the last lines of this 
dispatch, a loophole for indefinite delay : 

Our army is well over the Chickahominy, except the 

very considerable forces necessary to protect our flanks 

and communications. Our whole line of pickets in front 

runs within six miles of Richmond. The rebel line runs 

Vol. v.— 27 


ch. xxm. within musket range of ours. Each has heavy support 
at hand. A general engagement may take place any 
hour. An advance by us involves a battle more or less 
decisive. The enemy exhibit at every point a readiness 
to meet us. They certainly have great numbers and ex- 
tensive works. If 10,000 or 15,000 men have left Rich- 
mond to reenforce Jackson, it illustrates their strength 
and confidence. 

This is a singularly characteristic view. The 
fact of a large detachment having left Lee affords 
him no encouragement ; it simply impresses him 
all the more with the idea of his enemy's strength. 

After to-morrow we shall fight the rebel army as soon 

^ jj as Providence wiU permit. We shall await only a f avor- 

voi. xr., able condition of the earth and sky, and the completion 

Part III., „ , . . . "^ ' 

p. 233. of some necessary preliminaries. 

As usual, it was the enemy that startled Mc- 
Clellan out of his procrastination. On the 13th of 
June, General J. E. B. Stuart, with some twelve 
hundred Confederate cavalry and a few guns, started 
to ride around McCleUan's army ; touching on his 
way the South Anna Railroad bridge, Hanover 
Court House, Tunstall's Station on the York River 
Railway, and thence to Jones's Bridge on the Chick- 
ahominy, which he stopped to repair, crossing it on 
June, 1862. the 15th, and entering Richmond by the river road 
the next day. It has rarely been the fortune of a 
general to inflict such an insult upon an oppo- 
nent without injury. General McClellan did not 
seem to feel that any discredit attached to him 
for this performance. On the contrary he con- 
gratulated himself that Stuart had done so little 

The burning of two schooners laden with forage, and 
fourteen Government wagons, the destruction of some 



Part I., 
p. 47. 

" Battles 

of the 
Civil War." 
Vol. II., 
p. 325. 

sutlers' stores, the kiiling of several of the guard and ch. xxiii. 
teamsters at Garlick's Landing, some little damage done „^- ^-^ 
at Tunstall's Station, and a little liclat, were the precise re- - '■ - " 
salts of this expedition. 

McClellan had for some time been vaguely med- 
itating a change of base to the James Eiver, and 
this raid of Stuart seems to have somewhat strength- 
ened this purpose. Fitz-John Porter, who more 
than any other possessed his confidence, says that 
McClellan desired to effect this movement as soon 
as he gave up looking for McDowell to join him, 
which, we have seen from his report, was in the first 
week of June. " As early as June 18," Porter says, 
he " sent vessels loaded with supplies to the James 
Eiver." It is not intended to intimate that he was 
fully resolved upon this course ; but he appears to 
have kept it constantly before him, in his unde- 
cided, irresolute way, aU through the month. His 
communication with Commodore John Eodgers, 
who commanded on the James, indicates a purpose 
to move to some point on that river. He says on 
the 24th: 

In a few days I hope to gain such a position as to en- 
able me to place a force above BaU's and Drewry's bluffs, 
so that we can remove the obstructions and place our- 
selves in communication with you so that you can cooper- 
ate in the final attack. In the mean time please keep 
some gunboats as near Drewry's Bluff as" prudence will 

On the 25th he pushed forward his picket line in 
front of Seven Pines to within four miles of Eich- 
mond, a point farther in advance than he had yet 
reached. At the same time he issued orders to his 
corps commanders south of the river that they 
were not to regard these new positions as their 

June, 1862. 

W. E. 
Vol. XI., 
Part III., 

p. 260. 


ch. XXIII. field of battle, but were to fall back, if attacked, to 
voi/xi., their old intrenchments. He had by this time 

Part III 

p. 252.'' heard of the arrival of Jackson's corps, and also 
credited a false and impossible rumor of the arrival 
of Beauregard and his troops from the West. He 
was fully informed of the attack threatened within 
a few hours, and yet he sent to Washington for 
Ibid., p. 263. more troops. "If I had another good division I 
Ibid., p. 264. could laugh at Jackson," he said, while he knew 
that Jackson was marching upon his right. He 
made his usual complaint and threat of putting the 
responsibility where it belonged. These wanton ac- 
cusations at such a time moved the President, not 
to anger, but to genuine sorrow. Yet he answered 
with almost incredible patience : 

Your three dispatclies of yesterday in relation to the 
affair, ending with the statement that you completely 
succeeded in making your point, are very gratifying. 
The later one . . . suggesting the probability of your 
being overwhelmed by 200,000, and talking of where the 
responsibility will belong, pains me very much. I give 
you all I can, and act on the presumption that you will do 
the best you can with what you have, while you continue, 
ungenerously I think, to assume that I could give you 

Mccfeiian, more if I would. I have omitted, and shall omit, no op- 
■^'1862!'^' portunity to send you reenf orcements whenever I possibly 

Ibid., p.' 259. can. 

It is impossible to say how long his desultory 
1862. preparations would have lasted if General McClellan 
had been left to himself ; but after the 23d of June, 
the power of deciding upon what day he should at- 
tack had already passed out of his hands. Greneral 
Lee had made, at his leisure, all his arrangements 
for attacking the Union army, and had chosen the 
time and the manner of onset, — as Johnston did a 


montli before, — witlioiit the slightest reference to ch. xxm. 
any possible initiative of McOlellan. He had, dur- 
ing the month allowed him by the inactivity of his 
opponent, brought together from every available 
source a great army, almost equal in numbers to 
the Army of the Potomac. Though there is a great 
disparity in the accounts of the different Confed- 
erate officers who have written upon this subject, 
there is no reason to doubt that the official estimate 
quoted with approval by General Webb, which 
states Lee's force as 80,762, is substantially correct. 
Webb says that MeClellan's effective force for the ..^^^''e'n- 
" seven days' battles" was 92,500 — considerably p^iSf'm. 
less than his own official report of the 20th of June voi.' xi.. 

Part III 

gives him, which, exclusive of Dix's force, was 105,- p. 238." 
445. The Confederate forces were, like the army 
opposed to them, of the best material the country 
could furnish ; and no better men ever went to war, 
in any age or region. It is an unsolved and now 
an insolvable question whether the Confederates 
had gained or lost by the wounding of Johnston 
and the substitution of Lee as the commander of 
their principal army. They were both men of the 
best ability and highest character that the Southern 
States could produce ; both trained soldiers, of 
calm temper and great energy; and both equally 
honorable and magnanimous in their treatment of 
their subordinates. But Q-eneral Lee had a great 
advantage over his predecessor in possessing the 
perfect confidence and personal friendship of Jeffer- 
son Davis, the head of the Confederate Govern- 
ment. He was always sure in his enterprises of 
what Johnston often lacked, the sincere and zeal- 
ous support of the Richmond Government. He 





" Narrar 


pp. 145, 146. 

June, 1862. 

W. K. 
Vol. XI., 
Part III., 

p. 602. 

"Else and 
Fall of the 

erate Gov- 
Vol. II., 

p. 133. 

Vol. XI., 
Part III., 

p. 233. 

Ibid., p. 264. 

also enjoyed, to an umisual degree, the vrarm re- 
gard and esteem of those who were brought into 
personal or official relations vpith him. His hand- 
some and attractive presence, his dignified yet 
cordial manner, a certain sincerity and gentleness 
which was apparent in aU his words and actions, 
endeared him to his associates and made friends of 
strangers at first sight. Everything he asked for 
was given him. He had been the favorite of Q-en- 
eral Scott in the old army ; he became the favorite 
of Mr. Davis in his new command. The army 
which Johnston gave up to him had been almost 
doubled in numbers by the time he considered him- 
self ready to employ it against McCleUan. 

Lee's preparations were promptly and energeti- 
cally made. Immediately after Stuart's raid was 
completed he ordered Stonewall Jackson to join 
him by a letter of the 16th, which gave minute 
instructions for his march and enjoined upon him 
the greatest secrecy and swiftness. To mask this 
movement he ostentatiously sent Jackson two bri- 
gades from Eichmond, with drums beating and 
colors fiying, a proceeding which was promptly 
reported to McOlellan and caused him at first some 
perplexity, but which he explained by his usual 
conclusion that Lee had so overwhelming a force 
that a few brigades here or there made no differ- 
ence to him. The manoeuvre was of little practical 
account, however, as McCleUan was fully informed 
of Jackson's approach in time to provide against it, 
or to anticipate his arrival by taking the offensive. 
He even knew as early as the 25th that Jackson 
was to come in on his right and rear, but he made 
no use of this knowledge except to reproach the 


Government for not sending Mm more troops, ch. xxiii. 
Jackson reported at Richmond in person on the 23d 
of June, in advance of his corps ; and in a confer- 1862. 
ence with Longstreet and the two Hills the plan of 
attacking the Federal right wing, north of the 
Ohickahominy, was agreed upon. As Jackson's 
troops had the greatest distance to march, it was 
left to him to say when the attack should be made. 
He named the morning of the 26th of June, giving 
himself, as it afterwards appeared, too little time. 

Greneral Lee matured his plan on the 24th, and 
issued his orders for the coming campaign. The 
most striking thing about them is his evident con- 
tempt for his opponent. He sent, in effect, full 
two-thirds of his army to the north side of the 
Ohickahominy to strike McCleUan's right wing. 
The enemy is to be " driven from Mechanicsville " ; 
the Confederates are to " sweep down the Ohicka- 
hominy and endeavor to drive the enemy from 
his position above New Bridge ; Q-eneral Jack- 
son bearing well to his left, turning Beaver Dam 
Creek, and taking the direction towards Cold 
Harbor. They will then press forward towards the 
York Eiver Eailroad, closing upon the enemy's 
rear, and forcing him down the Ohickahominy. 
Any advance of the enemy towards Richmond will 
be prevented by vigorously following his rear, and 
crippling and arresting his progress." He antici- 
pated the possibility of McOlellan's abandoning his 
intrenchments on the south side of the river, in 
which case he is to be " closely pursued " by Huger 
and Magruder. Oavalry were to occupy the roads voi.' xi., 
to arrest his flight "down the Ohickahominy." pp. 498,4:99. 
General Lee's plan and expectation was, in short. 



ch. XXIII. to herd and drive down the Peninsula a magnifi- 
cent army, superior in numbers to Ms own, and not 
inferior in any other respect — if we except the 
respective generals-commanding, who were at least 
equally distinguished engineers. In this entei-prise 
he deserved and courted defeat by leaving the bulk 
of McClellan's army between himself and Rich- 
mond. When he laid his plan before Jefferson 
Davis, the latter saw at once this serious defect in 
it. He says : 

I pointed out to him that our force and intrenched line 
between that left flank [of the enemy] and Richmond was 
too weak for a protracted resistance, and if McClellan 
was the man I took him for, ... as soon as he found 
that the bulk of our army was on the north side of the 
Chickahominy he would not stop to try conclusions with 
it there, but would immediately move upon his objective 
point, the city of Richmond. If, on the other hand, he 
should behave like an engineer officer, and deem it his 
first duty to protect his line of communication, I thought 
the plan proposed was not only the best, but would be 
a success. Something of his old esprit de corps mani- 
fested itself in Greneral Lee's first response that he did not 
know engineer officers were more likely than others to 
Davis, make such mistakes, but immediately passing to the 
F^if of'^ttfe main subject, he added, " If you will hold him as long as 
erate Gov- ^^^ ^^° ^* *^® intrenchmcnts, and then fall back on the 
emment." detached works around the city, I will be upon the 
p. 132.' enemy's heels before he gets there." 

But everything shows he anticipated no such 
action on the part of McCleUan. All his orders, 
all his dispositions, indicate clearly that he thought 
of nothing but driving him down the Chickahominy 
towards Yorktown, and capturing or dispersing 
his army. The measure of success he met with 
will always be, in the general judgment, a justifica- 



tion of Ms plan ; but the opinion of the best mili- ch. xsni. 
tary critics on both sides is that it never could have 
succeeded had it not been for McClellan's hallucina- 
tion as to the numbers opposed to him. Prom the 
hour that Lee crossed his troops over the Chicka- 
hominy, leaving that river and McClellan's army 
between him and Eichmond, he risked the fate of 
the Confederacy upon his belief that the Union gen- 
eral would make no forward movement. His confi- 
dence grew with every step of McClellan's retreat 
from Beaver Dam Creek to Malvern HiU, and was 
dearly paid for in the blood of his soldiers. 

The first meeting between the two armies re 
suited in a terrible defeat for the Confederates. 
About three o'clock on the afternoon of the 26th, June, 1862. 
the rebel forces, commanded by Longstreet, D. H. 
Hill, and A. P. Hill, attacked the Union troops in 
position on the east side of Beaver Dam Creek, 
commanded by General McCall, whose division 
had been added to Pitz-John Porter's corps. Mc- 
Call's brigade commanders were Truman Seymour, 
Meade, and John P. Reynolds. Of the last two, 
the one gained an undying fame and the other a 
glorious death at Gettysburg. The Confederates 
were in greatly superior force, but the Union troops 
had the advantage of position; and though both 
sides fought with equal valor, before night fell the 
rebels were repulsed with great slaughter. General 
McClellan visited Fitz-John Porter's headquarters 
at night, after the battle. He found an exultant 
and victorious army, almost unscathed by the "Battles 
fierce conflict of the day. Porter reports his loss Leaders 
at 250 out of the 5000 engaged, and says the enemy civii war." 
lost nearly 2000 of their 10,000 attacking. If Por- ^^Mt 


cii. XXIII. ter, instead of McClellan, liad been in command of 
the army, Richmond might have been under the 
Union flag the next day. His soldierly spirit, 
flushed with the day's success, comprehended the 
full advantage of the situation. He urged Mc- 
Clellan to seize his opportunity ; he proposed " to 
hold his own at the Beaver Dam line, slightly reen- 
forced, while General McClellan moved the main 
body of the army upon Richmond."^ The general 
commanding had not resolution enough to accept 
or reject this proposition of his gaUant subordinate. 
He returned to his own headquarters to make up 
his mind, and about " three or four o'clock in the 
morning " sent his final order to Porter to retire to 
a position some four miles east, behind Boatswain 
Swamp, and there await the further attack of the 

General Porter's personal devotion to McClellan, 
which was afterwards to bring him into lifelong 
trouble, has never allowed him to criticize this de- 
cision of his chief which overruled his own bold 
and intelligent plan. Let us see how the ablest 
and most efficient Confederate general engaged in 
this campaign regarded it. General Longstreet 

In my judgment the evacuation of Beaver Dam Creek 
was very unwise on the part of the Federal commanders. 
We had attacked at Beaver Dam, and had failed to make 
an impression at that point, losing several thousand men 
and offlcers. This demonstrated that the position was 
safe. If the Federal commanders knew of Jackson's ap- 
proach on the 26th, they had ample time to reenforce 
Porter's right before Friday morning (27th), with men 

iWe are here quoting the language of General Webb, whose testi- 
mony is beyond question.— Webb, " The Peninsula," p. 130. 


and field defenses, to such extent as to make the re- ch. xxiir. 
mainder of the line to the right secure against assault. 
So that the Federals in withdrawing not only abandoned "^nd^"^ 
a strong position, but gave up the morale of their sue- ^oTthe^ 
cess, and transferred it to our somewhat disheartened Cmi war," 
forces ; for, next to Malvern Hill, the sacrifice at Beaver p- '398.'' 
Dam was unequaled in demoralization during the entire 

It is hard to understand what General MeClellan 
means when he says in his report that the 26th was 
" the day upon which I had decided as the time for vS.' li., 
our final advance." If he thought it safe to attack p^ 51.' 
Richmond with Lee and his army in front of him, 
how much more advantageous would such an at- 
tack have been with Lee and two-thirds of his army 
engaged in a desperate battle north of the Chicka- 
hominy. There is no indication in his orders or 
dispatches of these days — if we except one order 
to Porter, hereafter to be. mentioned — that he had 
any more definite purpose than to await the action 
of the enemy, and retreat to the James if neces- 
sary. His mind was filled with the idea of an 
army of 200,000 under Lee. In his report, written ujid. 
a year afterwards, he reiterates and dwells upon 
this already disproved fiction, basing his persistent 
belief on the reports of his detective service. This 
is the only explanation possible of his action during 
this momentous week, while he was flying from 
myriads which existed only in his own brain, and 
his brave army was tm-ning and checking Lee's 
pursuing forces at every halt it made. 

On the morning of the 27th Porter withdrew to June, 1862. 
his new position, famous ever thereafter as the bat- 
tlefield of Gaines's Mill, or of the Chickahominy, 
as it is called by Southern writers. His ground, 


ch. xxni. like that of tlie day before, was admirably chosen 
for defense. He had less than one-third the number 
of the host which was marching by every road on 
the west and north to destroy him.^ He knew his 
force was too small to defend so long a line against 
such numbers, but his appeals to McClellan for re- 
enforcements brought no response until late in the 
day, when Slocum's division was sent him. With 
the troops he had he made a magnificent fight, 
which makes us speculate on what might have hap- 
pened if he had commanded the entire Army of the 
Potomac on that day. 

With the exception of the nine brigades left on 
the south side of the river under Magruder and 
Huger to hold McClellan, the whole army of General 
Lee, numbering over sixty thousand men, was ad- 
vancing upon Porter's single corps. It was led by 
the best generals of the South — Longstreet, the two 
Hills, Whiting, Hood, Ewell, and the redoubtable 
Jackson, whose corps, though marching with less 
than their usual celerity, had turned Beaver Dam 
Creek the night before, and had now arrived at the 
post assigned them opposite Porter's right. General 
Lee commanded on the field in person, and Jeffer- 
son Davis contributed whatever his presence was 

The battle began at noon, and as evening fell 
upon the desperately fought field, the entire Con- 
federate army, by a simultaneous advance, forced 
back the Union troops, overcome by numbers and 

1 Porter's force consisted of from the nature of the groimd, 

Morell's, McCall's, and Sykes's di- but a very small portion could toe 

visions; "in all, 17,330 infantry used"; and 671 of the regular 

for duty. There were present cavalry guarded the bridges — 

withhim2534artmery, of which, Webb, " The Peninsula," p. 129. 



wearied witli seven liours of constant fighting.-^ ch. xxin. 
There was no confusion except at the point on the 
right where Morell's line had been pierced by 
Hood's brigade, where two regiments were made 
prisoner. Everywhere else the Union soldiers re- 
tired fighting, turning from time to time to beat 
back the enemy, until night put an end to the con 
fliet. Porter had lost four thousand in killed and 
wounded — one-sixth of his men ; Lee something 
more, about one-twelfth of his. The loss in missing 
was much larger on the Union side than on the 
Confederate. Lee had absolutely failed in his ob- 
ject — to dislodge the Union army from its position 
and " drive it down the Ohickahominy." 

Of the heroic valor of this sanguinary day's work 
there can be no question. There is much question 
of the wisdom of it. If McCleUan had made up 
his mind to retreat to the James, he might have 
withdrawn Porter to the south side of the Ohicka- 
hominy during the night of the 26th, after his signal 
victory at Beaver Dam.^ But, as we have seen, he 

1 Porter says : " The forces in 
this battle were : Union, 50 regi- 
ments, 20 batteries (several not 
engaged); in all, ahont 30,000 
fighting men [including the reen- 
foreements received during the 
day]. Confederate, 129 regi- 
ments, 19 batteries ; in all, about 

2 "At last a moment came 
when action was imperative. The 
enemy assumed the initiative, 
and we had warning of when and 
where he was to strike. Had 
Porter been withdrawn the night 
of the 26th, our army would have 
been concentrated on the right 
bank, while two corps at least of 

the enemy's force were on the left 
bank. Whatever course we then 
took, whether to strike at Eieh- 
mond and the portion of the en- 
emy on the right bank, or move at 
once for the James, we would 
have had a concentrated army 
and a fair chance of a brilliant 
result in the first place, and in 
the second, if we accomplished 
nothing, we would have been in 
the same case on the morning of 
the 27th as we were on that of 
the 28th, minus a lost battle 
and a compulsory retreat ; or, had 
the fortified lines (thrown up ex 
pressly for that object) been held 
by 20,000 men (as they could 

" Battles 



Vol. II., 

p. 337. 


ch. xxin. gave no definite orders until three o'clock the next 
morning, when he directed Porter to retire to 
Gaines's Mill. During all the terrible conflict of 
the 27th, he left his gallant subordinate to fight his 
force, with no intimation of his ultimate purpose. 
Porter had a right to think that the price of his 
tremendous sacrifice was to be the capture of Rich- 
mond. McCleUan's orders to him on the 23d in- 
cluded these words : 

The troops on this side wiU be held ready either to sup- 
port you directly or to attack the enemy in their front. 
If the force attacking you is large, the general would 
prefer the latter coui-se, counting upon your skiU and the 
admirable troops under your command to hold their own 
w. E. against superior numbers long enough for him to make 
^rt fu" *^^ decisive movement which will determine the fate of 
p- 247. " Richmond. 

In addition to this we have the most unimpeach- 
able authority for saying that Porter on the battle- 
field was left with the same impression. Greneral 
Webb, who was present with General Porter during 
the fight, ordered to that duty from McCleUan's 
headquarters, says he " carried with him to Gen- 
eral Porter the distinct impression then prevailing 
at the headquarters of the army, that he was to 
hold this large force of the enemy on the left bank 
of the Chickahominy in order that General McClel- 
" The Pen- lau, with the main army, might break through and 
p. 187. take Eichmond." 

have been), we could have fought the enemy on the left bank, re- 

on the other side -with 80,000 opened our communications, and 

men instead of 27,000 ; or, fi- then returned and taken Rioh- 

naUy, had the lines been aban- mond." — Report of General Barn- 

doned, with our hold on the right ard, Chief of Engineers, Army of 

bank of the Chickahominy, we the Potomac. W. R. Vol. XI., 

might have fought and crushed Part I., p. 131. 


It "was this inspiring thought which moved Porter ch. xxiii. 
and his men to such a prodigious feat of arms. 
General Webb says : 

The sacrifice at Gaines's Mill . . . was warranted, if we 
were to gain Richmond by making it, and the troops en- 
gaged in carrying out this plan, conceiving it to be the ..-rS^pen- 
wish of the general commanding, were successful in hold- insula," 
ing the rebels on the left bank. 

But the general commanding was incapable of 
the effort of will necessary to carry out his share of 
the plan. He gives us to understand, in his report 
and in subsequent articles, that he resolved upon 
his retreat to the James on the 25th of June. Gen- 1862. 
eral Webb adopts this theory, and adds that Mc- 
Clellan thought that the capture of Eichmond, with 
Lee beyond the Chickahominy, was not a proper 
military movement. It is not in the competence of 
any one to judge what were General McClellan's 
thoughts and intentions from the 23d to the 27th 
of June. So late as eight o'clock on the night of 
the 27th a dispatch from him to the War Depart- 
ment indicates that he thought the attack of Ma- 
gruder on the right bank was more serious than that 
upon Porter on the left. " I may be forced," he 
says, "to give up my position during the night, 
but will not if it is possible to avoid it " ; and as a 
matter of course the usual refrain follows : " Had I 
twenty thousand fresh and good troops, we would voi."xi., 
be sure of a splendid victory to-morrow." Ma- p- 266. " 
gruder, who had been left to guard Eichmond with 
only twenty-five thousand troops, had been all day 
repeating the devices which were so successful at 
Yorktown. He had rattled about McClellan's entire 
front with so much noise and smoke as to create the 




W. B. 
Vol. XI., 
Part I., 

p. 69. 

Part 11., 

p. 662. 
" Battles 


of the 

Civil War,'' 

Vol. II., 

p. 361. 

impression of overwhelmiiig numbers. Even tlie 
seasoned corps commanders were not unaffected by 
it. Franklin thought it not prudent to send any 
reenforcements from his line to Porter. Sumner 
offered to send two brigades, but thought it would 
be hazardous. The real state of the case can best 
be seen from Magruder's own report. He says : 

From Friday night until Sunday morning I considered 
the situation of our army as extremely critical and peril- 
ous. The larger portion of it was on the opposite side of 
the Chickahominy. The bridges had been all destroyed, 
but one was rebuilt (the New Bridge), which was com- 
manded fully by the enemy's guns from folding's, 
and there were but 25,000 men between his army of 
100,000 and Richmond. . . Had McClellan massed his 
whole force in column, and advanced it against any point 
of our Une of battle, as was done at Austerlitz, under 
similar circumstances, by the greatest captain of any 
age, though the head of his column would have suffered 
greatly, its momentum would have insured him success 
and the occupation of our works about Richmond, and 
consequently the city, might have been his reward. His 
failure to do so is the best evidence that our wise com- 
mander fully understood the character of his opponent. 

D. H. Hill says the same thing : 

During Lee's absence Richmond was at the mercy of 
McClellan. . . The fortifications around Richmond at 
that time were very slight. McClellan could have cap- 
tured the city with very little loss of life. The want of 
supplies would have forced Lee to attack him as soon as 
possible, with all the disadvantages of a precipitated 

1 The following shows the opin- 
ion of two of the most prominent 
Confederate officers upon this 
matter. It is an extract from a 
letter of General J. E. Johnston 
to General Beauregard, dated 

Amelia Springs, August 4, 1862, 
shortly after the Seven Days' 
Battles : 

"But for my confidence in Me- 
Clellan's want of enterprise, I 
should on Thursday night, after 



G-eneral McCleUan did not visit the field of battle ch. xxiii. 
during the day.^ At night he summoned Porter 
across the river, and there made known to him and 
the other corps commanders, for the first time, his 
intention to change his base to the James. Porter 
was ordered to retire to the south bank, and de- 
stroy the bridges after him. This was accomplished 
safely and in good order, and the bridges were de- 
stroyed soon after sunrise on the 28th. The move- June, 1862. 
ment to the James once resolved upon, it was 
executed with great energy and ability. General 
Keyes moved his corps, with artillery and baggage, 
across the White Oak Swamp, and possessed him- 
self of the ground on the other side, for the cover- 
ing of the passage of the other troops and the 
trains, by noon of the 28th. General Porter's corps, 
during the same day and night, crossed the White 
•Oak Swamp, and established itself in positions that 
covered the roads from Richmond. Franklin with- 
drew from the extreme right after a skirmish at 
Golding's Farm. Keyes and Porter continued in 
the advance, and established their two corps safely 
at Malvern Hill, thus securing the extreme left 
flank of the army in a commanding and important 

three-fourths of the troops had 
crossed the Chiokahominy, have 
apprehended that he would adopt 
the course you suggest for him. 
Had he done so, he might have 
been in Eiehmond on Friday be- 
fore midday. By concentrating 
his troops on the south side of 
the river before daybreak on Fri- 
day he would have been between 
our main body and the city, with 
only one-fourth of our force in his 

Vol. v.— 28 

way. This fraction he could have 
beaten in four hours, and marched 
to Eiehmond in two hours more." 
— Published in the " New- York 
Times," June 17, 1883. 

1 "Question. Were you with the 
right or left wing of the army 
during the battle of Gaines's Mill? 

"Answer. [General McCleUan.] 
I was on the right bank of the 
river, at Dr. Trent's house, as 
the most central position." 


of the 


on Conduct 

of the War. 




W. E. 

Vol. XI., 

Part II., 

p. 494. 

June, 1862. 

This movement took Q-eneral Lee completely by 
surprise. Anticipating nothing but a retreat down 
the Chickahominy/ he had thrown his left wing 
and his entire cavalry force in that direction ; 
when he became aware of his mistake, a good deal 
of precious time was already lost, and he was de- 
prived, during the three days that followed, of 
Stuart's invaluable services. But on the 29th, 
having ascertained that McClellan was marching to 
the James, he immediately started in pursuit, send- 
ing his whole force by parallel roads to intercept 
the Army of the Potomac near Charles City Cross- 
roads, midway between the White Oak Swamp and 
the James. Longstreet was to march with A. P. 
Hill by the Long Bridge road ; while Huger was to 
come up at the same time by the Charles City road, 
and General Holmes was to take up position below 
him on the river road. Jackson, crossing the Grape- 
vine Bridge, was to come in from the north on the 
rear of the Federal army. 

Even the terrible lessons of Beaver Dam and 
Gaines's Mill had not convinced General Lee of the 
danger of attacking the Army of the Potomac in 
position. These lessons were repeated aU along the 
line of march. Sumner repulsed Magruder at 
Allen's Farm, and then, retiring to Savage's Station, 
he and Franklin met another fierce onslaught from 
the same force, and completely defeated them. It 
was with the greatest difficulty that Franklin could 

1 "General Lee, presuming that 
the Federalists would continue 
to withdraw, if overpowered, to- 
ward the York River Railroad 
and the White House, directed 
General Jackson to proceed with 

General D. H. Hill to a point a 
few miles north of Cold Harbor, 
and thence to march to that place 
and strike their line of retreat." 
— Dabney, "Life of Gen. T. J. 
Jackson," p. 443. 



' Battles 



ot the 

p. 376. 

June 30, 

induce the gallant old general to leave the field, ch. xxm. 
McClellan's orders were positive that the White 
Oak Swamp must be crossed that night ; but to all 
Franklin's representations Sumner answered, "No, 
General, you shall not go, nor will I." When shown 
McClellan's positive orders, he cried out, " McClel- 
lan did not know the circumstances when he wrote 
that note. He did not know that we would fight a civii war.- 
battle and gain a victory." He only gave way and '—" 
reluctantly took up his line of march for the south- 
ward on the positive orders of an aide-de-camp, 
who had just left McClellan.i 

The next day occurred the battle of Grlendale, or 
Frayser's Farm, as it is sometimes called. Jackson, 
with unusual slowness, had arrived at Savage's 
Station the day before, too late to take part in the 
battle there; and when he came to White Oak 
Swamp the bridge was gone, and Franklin occupied 
the heights beyond. His force was therefore neu- 
tralized during the day. He made once or twice 
a feeble attempt to cross the swamp, but was 
promptly met and driven back by Franklin. 
Huger, on the Charles City road, failed to break 
through some slight obstruction there. Holmes 
was in terror of the gunboats near Malvern Hill, 
and could give no assistance ; so that Longstreet 
and A. P. Hill were forced to attack the Union 
center, at Grlendale, on pretty nearly even terms. 

iThe corps commanders in these 
battles were left almost entirely 
withoTit directions, as the follow- 
ing shows : 

" Question. By whom was the 
battle of Savage's Station fought ? 
Did you yourself direct the move- 
ments of the troops, or were they 

directed by the corps command- 

"Answer. [General McClellan.] 
I had given general orders for 
the movements of the troops, but 
the fighting was done under the 
direct orders of the corps com- 


of the 


on the 

Conduct of 

the War. 

Part I., 

p. 436. 



" Battles 



Vol. II., 

p. 382. 

ch. xxni. Here a savage and obstinate conflict took place, 
which was felt on both sides to be the crisis of the 
campaign. If the Union center had been pierced, 
the disaster would have been beyond calculation. 
On the other hand, if our army had been concen- 
trated at that point, and had defeated the army 
of Lee, the city of Richmond would have been 
the prize of victory. General Franklin says that 
the Prince de Joinville, who was at that moment 
taking leave of the army to return to Europe, said 
to him with great earnestness, "Advise General 
McClellan to center his army at this point and fight 
the battle to-day. If he does, he will be in Rich- 
mond to-morrow." Neither side won the victory 
that day, though each deserved it by brave and 
persistent fighting. General McCleUan, intent 
upon searching for a defensive position for his army 
upon the James, left the field before the conflict 
began ; while Longstreet, Lee, and Jefferson Davis 
himself, were under the fire of the Union guns 
during the afternoon. When darkness put an end 
to the fighting, the Federal generals, left to their 
discretion, had accomplished their purpose. The 
enemy had been held in check, the trains and artil- 
lery had gone safely forward by the road which 
the battle had protected, and on the next morning, 
July 1, the Army of the Potomac was awaiting its 
enemy in the natural fortress of Malvern Hill . It 
was at this place that General Lee's contempt for 
his enemy was to meet its last and severest chas- 

The position strikingly resembled the battlefield 
of Gaines's Mill. The Union army was posted on 
a high position, in lines selected and established by 


General Humplireys, covered on the right and on ch. xxm. 
the left by swampy streams and winding ravines. 
Woods in front furnished a cover for the formation 
of the Confederate columns, but an open space 
intervening afforded fuU play for the terrible Fed- 
eral artillery. It was not the place for a prudent 
general to attack, and Lee was usually one of the 
most prudent of generals. But he had his whole 
army well in hand, Jackson having come up in the 
night, and he decided to risk the venture. D. H. 
Hill took the liberty of representing the great ..Battles 
strength of McCleUan's position, and to give his resSlre." 
opinion against an assault. Longstreet, who was ^^hlb 
present, laughed and said, " Don't get scared, now 
that we have got him whipped." "It was this belief 
in the demoralization of the Federal army," Hill 
says, " that made our leader risk the attack." Lee 
evidently thought the position could be carried by 
a cov^ de main. The order to his generals of di- 
vision is a curiosity of military literature : " Bat- 
teries have been estabhshed to rake the enemy's md., p. 392. 
line. If it is broken, as is probable, Armistead, 
who can witness the effect of the fire, has been 
ordered to charge with a yeU. Do the same." 

On the part of the Confederates the battle was as 
ill executed as it was iU conceived. There was a 
vast amount of blood and valor wasted by them ; 
while on the Union side, under the admirable lead- 
ership of Porter, Morell, and Couch, not a drop of 
blood nor an ounce of powder was thrown away. 
Successive attacks made by the Confederates from 
one o'clock until nine were promptly and bravely re- 
pulsed by the Union soldiers. Jackson's forces suf- 
fered severely in getting into position early in the 


ch. XXIII. afternoon. One of Huger's brigades charged upon 
Couch about three o'clock, and was driven back, 
roughly handled. D. H. Hill waited a long time 
for the " yell " from Armistead, which was to be his 
"Battles signal for onset. But Armistead's yell in that roar 
LeadCTs." of artillery was but a feeble pipe, and was soon 
p^ '393." silenced ; and when Hill at last heard some shout- 
ing on his right, and concluded to advance, he was 
repulsed and fearfully punished by the immovable 
brigades of Couch and Heintzelman. The most 
picturesque, perhaps we may say the most sensa- 
tional, charge of the day was that made by Magru- 
der late in the afternoon. His nine brigades melted 
away like men of snow under the frightful fire of 
Sykes's batteries and the muskets of Morell's stead- 
fast infantry. This charge closed the fighting for 
the day. The Union line had not been broken. 

jiuy 1, 1862. One remarkable feature of the battle of Malvern 
Hill was that neither of the generals commanding 
exercised any definite control over the progress of 
the fight. General Lee, it is true, was on the field, 
accompanied by Jefferson Davis ; but with the ex- 
ception of that preposterous order about Armis- 
tead's yeU, he seems to have allowed his corps 
commanders to fight the battle in their own way. 
Their reports are filled with angry recriminations, 
and show a gross lack of discipline and organiza- 
tion. Early in the afternoon Lee ordered Long- 

ibid.,p.403. street and Hill to move their forces by the left 
flank, intending to cut off the expected retreat of 
McClellan. Longstreet says : " I issued my orders 
accordingly for the two division commanders to go 
around and turn the Federal right, when, in some 
way unknown to me, the battle was drawn on. 


We "were repulsed at all points with fearful ch. xxiii. 
slaughter, losing six thousand men and accom- 
plishing nothing." 

General McClellan left the field in the morning 
before the fighting began, and went to his camp at 
Haxall's, which was under the protection of the gun- 
boats. He came back for a little while in the after- 
noon, but remained with the right wing, where there ^^\^ 
was no fighting ; he said his anxiety was for the ^"o'S'tiS*'' 
right wing, as he was perfectly sure of the left and of^the wL. 
the center. In this way he deprived himself of the ppf tse, «?. 
pleasure of witnessing a great victory won by the 
troops under the command of his subordinate gen- 
erals. It is not impossible that if he had seen with 
his own eyes the magnificent success of the Union 
arms during the day he would have held the ground 
which had been so gallantly defended. To judge 
from the accounts of the officers on both sides, 
nothing would have been easier. The defeat and 
consequent demoralization of the Confederate 
forces surpassed anything seen in the war, and 
it might have been completed by a vigorous offen- 
sive on the morning of the 2d. Even Major Dab- jiuy, 1862. 
ney, of Jackson's staff, whose sturdy partisanship 
usually refuses to recognize the plainest facts unfa- 
vorable to his side, gives this picture of the feeling 
of the division commanders of Jackson's corps the 
night of the battle : "After many details of losses 
and disasters, they all concurred in declaring that 
McCleUan would probably take the aggressive in 
the morning, and that the Confederate army was p- «3. ' 
in no condition to resist him." 

But, impressed by the phantasm of two hundred 
thousand men before him, McClellan had already 


CH. xxui. resolved to retire still farther down the James to 
Harrison's Landing, in order, as he says, to reach 
a point where his supplies could be brought to him 
with certainty. Commodore Rodgers, with whom 
he was in constant consultation, thought this could 
best be done below City Point. The victorious 
army, therefore, following the habit of the disas- 
trous week, turned its back once more upon its 
beaten enemy, and established itself that day at 
Harrison's Bar, in a situation which Lee, having at 
last gained some information as to the fighting 
qualities of the Army of the Potomac, deehned to 
attack, a decision in which Jackson — half of whose 
men were out of their ranks by death, wounds, or 

Dabney, ■' ' ' 

P' *"• straggling — agreed with him. After several days 
of reconnaissance he withdrew his army, on the 

1862. 8th of July, to Richmond, and the Peninsular Cam- 
paign was at an end. 



GENEEAL McCLELLAN was greatly agitated cn.xxiv. 
by the battle of Q-aines's Mill/ and by the 
emotions incident to his forced departure for the 
James. Under the influence of this feeling he sent 
to the Secretary of War, from Savage's Station, on 
the 28th of June, an extraordinary dispatch, which 1862. 
we here insert in full, as it seems necessary to the 
comprehension of his attitude towards, and his re- 
lations with, the Government : 

I now know the full history of the day. On this side of 
the river (the right bank) we repulsed several strong at- 
tacks. On the left bank our men did aU that men could 

1 Lieutenant-Colonel B. S. against allowing any such order 
Alexander, of the Corps of En- to be issued, telling him he 
gineers, gave the following sworn thought it would have a bad 
evidence before the Committee effect upon the army — would de- 
on the Conduct of the War [p. moralize the officers and men ; 
592]. He said lie saw, on the that it would tell them more 
evening of the 28th, at General plainly than in any other way that 
MoClellan's headquarters at Sav- they were a defeated army run- 
age's Station, an order directing ning for their lives. This led to 
the destruction of the baggage some discussion among the officers 
of the officers and men, and he at headquarters, and Colonel 
thought also the camp equipage ; Alexander heard afterward that 
appealing to the officers and men the order was never promulgated, 
to submit to this privation be- but suppressed. Brevet Brigadier- 
cause it would be only for a few General James P. Eusling in- 
days, he thought the order stated, forms us that he saw and read this 
He went to the general at once, order, and that it was issued and 
and remonstrated with him acted upon to a certain extent. MS. letter. 


ch. XXIV. do, all that soldiers could accomplisli ; but they were 
overwhelmed by vastly superior numbers, even after I 
brought my last reserves into action. The loss on both 
sides is terrible. I believe it will prove to be the most des- 
perate battle of the war. The sad remnants of my men be- 
have as men. Those battalions who fought most bravely, 
and suffered most, are still in the best order. My regulars 
were superb, and I count upon what are left to turn an- 
other battle, in company with their gallant comrades of 
the volunteers. Had I 20,000 or even 10,000 fresh troops 
to use to-morrow, I could take Richmond, but I have not 
a man in reserve, and shall be glad to cover my retreat, 
and save the material and personnel of the army. If we 
have lost the day, we have yet preserved our honor, and 
no one need blush for the Army of the Potomac. I have 
lost this battle because my force was too small. I again 
repeat that I am not responsible for this, and I say it 
with the earnestness of a general who feels in his heart 
the loss of every brave man who has been needlessly sac- 
rificed to-day. I still hope to retrieve our fortunes, but 
to do this the Government must view the matter in the 
same earnest light that I do. You must send me very 
large reinforcements, and send them at once. I shall 
draw back to this side of Chickahominy, and think I can 
withdraw all our material. Please understand that in 
this battle we have lost nothing biit men, and those the 
best we have. In addition to what I have already said, I 
only wish to say to the President that I think he is wrong 
in regarding me as ungenerous when I said that my force 
was too weak. I merely intimated a truth which to-day 
has been too plainly proved. If, at this instant, I could 
dispose of ten thousand fresh men, I could gain a victory 
to-morrow. I know that a few thousand more men would 
have changed this battle from a defeat to a victory. As 
it is, the Government must not and can not hold me re- 
sponsible for the result. I feel too earnestly to-night ; I 
have seen too many dead and wounded comrades to feel 
otherwise than that the Government has not sustained 
this army. If you do not do so now, the game is lost. 

w. E. ^^ ■"• ^^^^ *^is army now, I tell you plainly that I owe no 
part^i." *^^°^s to yo^i- or to any other persons in Washington. 

p. 61." You have done your best to sacrifice this army. 

habkison's landing 443 

It, is probable that no other general would have ch.xxiv. 
retained his commission for twenty-four hours after 
the receipt of such a communication by his superi- 
ors ; but it is easy to see the reason why he was 
never called to account for it. The evident panic 
and mental perturbation which pierced through its 
incoherence filled the President with such dismay 
that its mutinous insolence was entirely overlooked. 
He could only wonder what terrible catastrophe, 
already accomplished or to come, could have wrung 
such an outcry as this from the general command- 
ing. Even the sui-render of the army was not an 
impossible disaster to expect from a general capable 
of writing such a dispatch. Secretary Chase has 
left a memorandum showing that some such action 
was regarded as indicated by General McClellan's 
telegrams, and that even after his arrival at Hai*- 
rison's Landing, Greneral Marcy, his father-in-law 
and chief-of-staff, in a visit to Washington, spoke of 
it as a possibility.-^ Not knowing the extent of the 
mischance which had fallen upon the army, the 
President hastened at once to send a kind and en- 
couraging answer to McCleUan's dispatches : 

Save your army at all events. Will send reenforce- 
ments as fast as we can. Of course they cannot reach 
you to-day, to-morrow, or next day. I have not said you 
were ungenerous for saying you needed reenforcements. I 
thought you were ungenerous in assuming that I did not 
send them as fast as I could. I feel any misfortune to 

1 This is the language of Mr. General Maroy, . . . who had 

Chase's memorandum : ' ' Gen- been sent up to explain person- 

eral MoClellan himself, in Ms dis- ally the situation to the Presi- 

patehes before reaching Harri- dent, spoke of the possibility 

son's Landing, referred to the of his capitulation at onee, or 

possibility of being obliged to within two or three days." — 

capitulate with his entire army; Sehuekers, "Life of S. P. Chase," 

and after reaching that place, p. 447. 


CH.xxiy. you and your army quite as keenly as you feel it yourself. 

If you have had a drawn battle, or a repulse, it is the 

price we pay for the enemy not being in Washington. 

We protected Washington, and the enemy concentrated 

on you. Had we stripped Washiagton, he would have 

been upon us before the troops could have gotten to you. 

Less than a week ago you notified us that reinforcements 

were leaving Eichmond to come in front of us. It is the 

^ jj nature of the case, and neither you nor the Government 

Vol.' xi., are to blame. Please teU at once the present condition 

p. 269. ■' and aspect of things. 

The President also, with the greatest diligence, 
sent dispatches on the same day to General Dis, at 
Fort Monroe, to Admiral Goldsborough, command- 
ing the naval forces in the James, and to General 
Burnside, in North Carolina, directing all three of 
them to strain every nerve in order to go to Mc- 
Clellan's assistance. At the same time he ordered^ 
Halleck to send a large portion of his forces to the 
1862 As the 29th and 30th of June passed without 

news of any further catastrophe, the President and 
the Secretary of War began to think better of the 
situation, and concluded that it might possibly be 
improved by a change of base to the James. Mr. 
Stanton telegraphed to General Wool that it looked 
" more like taking Richmond than at any time be- 
fore." But on the 1st of July a dispatch, dated at 
Turkey Bridge, arrived from General McClellan, 
who was still under the influence of great agita- 
tion, announcing that he is "hard pressed by su- 
perior numbers," and fearing that he shall be forced 

iThis order was afterwards to the abandonment of Tennessee, 

revoked, on Halleck'srepresenta- — W. R. Vol. XI., Part III., pp. 

tion that the detachment of so 279, 285. See also Chap. XEX., 

large a force would be equivalent p. 353 et seq^. 


to abandon Ms material and save Hs men under cilxxiv. 
cover of the gunboats. " If none of us escape, we 
shall at least have done honor to the country. I vS.'xi., 
shall do my best to save the army. Send more ^p^*28"" 
gunboats." While waiting for his troops to come 
to the new position he had chosen for them, he 
continued asking for reenforcements. " I need," he 
says, " 50,000 more men, and with them I will re- 
trieve our fortunes." The Secretary of War at 
once answered that reenforcements were on the 
way, 5000 from McDoweU and 25,000 from Halleck. 
" Hold your ground," he says encouragingly, " and 
you will be in Richmond before the month is over." ibid.,p.28i. 
On the morning of the battle of Malvern, McClehan 
writes again, " I dread the result if we are attacked 
to-day by fresh troops. . . I now pray for time." It ibid.,p.282. 
has been seen that his dread was uncalled for. 
Meanwhile, before hearing of the battle, the Presi- 
dent had telegraphed : 

It is impossible to reenforce you for your present Juiyi, i862. 
emergency. If we had a million of men we could not get 
them to you in time. We have not the men to send. If 
you are not strong enough to face the enemy you must 
find a place of security, and wait, rest, and repair. Main- 
tain your ground if you can, but save the army at all -^^.e. 
events, even if you fall back to Fort Monroe. We still part^i^" 
have strength enough in the country, and will bring it out. p- ti- ' 

On the 2d, the flurry of the week having some- 
what subsided, the President sent him the fol- 
lowing : 

Your dispatch of Tuesday morning induces me to hope 
your army is having some rest. In this hope allow me to 
reason with you a moment. When you ask for 50,000 
men to be promptly sent you, you surely labor under 
some gross mistake of fact. Recently you sent papers 



Ch. XXIV. 

Lincoln to 


July 2, 1862. 

W. E. 

Vol. XI., 

Part III., 

p. 286. 

showing your disposal of forces made last spring for tlie 
defense of Washington, and advising a return to that 
plan. I find it included in and about Washington 75,000 
men. Now, please be assured I have not men enough to fill 
that very plan by 15,000. All of Fremont's in the Valley, 
aU of Banks's, all of McDowell's not with you, and all 
in Washington, taken together, do not exceed, if they 
reach, 60,000. With Wool and Dix added to those men- 
tioned I have not, outside of your army, 75,000 men east 
of the mountains. Thus the idea of sending you 50,000, 
or any other considerable force, promptly is simply ab- 
surd. If in your frequent mention of responsibility you 
have the impression that I blame you for not doing more 
than you can, please be relieved of such impression. I 
only beg that, in like manner, you will not ask impossi- 
bilities of me. If you think you are not strong enough to 
take Richmond just now, I do not ask you to try just 
now. Save the army, material, and personnel, and I will 
strengthen it for the offensive again as fast as I can. The 
Governors of eighteen States offer me a new levy of 
300,000, which I accept. 

W. E. 
Vol. XI., 
Part HI., 

p. 292. 

This quiet and reasonable statement produced no 
effect upon the general. On the 3d he wrote again 
in a strain of wilder exaggeration than ever. He 

It is of course impossible to estimate, as yet, our losses ; 
but I doubt whether there are to-day more than 50,000 men 
with their colors. To accomplish the great task of cap- 
turing Richmond and putting an end to this rebellion re- 
enforcements should be sent to me, rather much over 
than much less than 100,000 men. I beg that you wiH be 
fully impressed by the magnitude of the crisis in which 
we are placed. 

The didactic, not to say magisterial, tone of this 
dispatch formed a not unnatural introduction to the 
general's next important communication to the 
President, laying before him an entire body of ad- 



ministrative and political doctrine, in wMcli alone, ch.xxw. 
he intimated, the salvation of the country could be 
found : 

Headquarters Army of the Potomac, 

Camp near Harrison's Landing, 

Virginia, July 7, 1862. 

Mr. President : You have been fully informed that 
the rebel army is in our front, with the purpose of over- 
whelming us 1 by attacking our positions, or reducing us 
by blocking our river communications. I cannot but 
regard our condition as critical, and I earnestly desire, in 
view of possible contingencies, to lay before your Excel- 
lency, for your private consideration, my general views 
concerning the existing state of the rebellion, although 
they do not strictly relate to the situation of this army, 
or strictly come within the scope of my official duties. 
These views amount to convictions, and are deeply im- 
pressed upon my mind and heart. Our cause must never 
be abandoned ; it is the cause of free institutions and self- 
government. The Constitution and the Union must be 
preserved, whatever may be the cost in time, treasure, and 
blood. If secession is successful, other dissolutions are 
clearly to be seen in the future. Let neither military 
disaster, political faction, nor foreign war shake your 
settled purpose to enforce the equal operation of the laws 
of the United States upon the people of every State. 
The time has come when the Government must determine 
upon a civil and military policy covering the whole 
ground of our national trouble. The responsibility of 
determining, declaring, and supporting such civil and 
military policy, and of directing the whole course of na- 
tional affairs in regard to the rebellion, must now be 
assumed and exercised by you, or our cause will be lost. 
The Constitution gives you power sufficient even for the 
present terrible exigency. 

This rebellion has assumed the character of a war. As 
such it should be regarded, and it should be conducted 
upon the highest principles known to Christian civiliza- 

1 This was at a time when Lee had given up all thought of attacking 
the Union army at Harrison's Landing. 


ch. XXIV. tion. It should not be a war looking to the subjugation 
of the people of any State in any event. It should not 
be at all a war upon population, but against armed forces 
and political organizations. Neither confiscation of prop- 
erty, political executions of persons, territorial organiza- 
tion of States, or forcible abolition of slavery should be 
contemplated for a moment. 

In prosecuting the war aU private property and unarmed 
persons shotdd be strictly protected, subject only to the 
necessities of military operations ; all private property 
taken for military use should be paid or receipted for ; 
pillage and waste should be treated^ as high crimes, all 
unnecessary trespass sternly prohibited, and offensive 
demeanor by the mOitary towards citizens promptly 
rebuked. Military arrests should not be tolerated, except 
in places where active hostilities exist ; and oaths not 
required by enactments — constitutionally made — should 
be neither demanded nor received. Military government 
should be confined to the preservation of public order and 
the protection of political rights. Military power should 
not be allowed to interfere with the relations of servitude, 
either by supporting or impairing the authority of the 
master, except for repressing disorder, as in other cases. 
Slaves, contraband under the act of Congress, seeking 
military protection, should receive it. The right of the 
Grovernment to appropriate permanently to its own 
service claims to slave labor should be asserted, and the 
right of the owner to compensation therefor should be 
recognized. This principle might be extended upon 
grounds of military necessity and security to all the 
slaves within a particular State, thus working manumis- 
sion in such State ; and in Missouri, perhaps in Western 
Virginia also, and possibly even in Maryland, the expedi- 
ency of such a military measure is only a question of 
time. A system of policy thus constitutional and con- 
servative, and pervaded by the influences of Christianity 
and freedom, would receive the support of almost all 
truly loyal men, would deeply impress the rebel masses 
and aU foreign nations, and it might be humbly hoped 
that it would commend itself to the favor of the Almighty. 
Unless the principles governing the further conduct of 
our struggle shall be made known and approved, the 














effort to obtain requisite forces will be almost hopeless, ch. xxiv. 
A declaration of radical views, especially upon slavery, 
will rapidly disintegrate our present armies. The policy 
of the G-overnment must be supported by concentrations 
of military power. The national forces should not be 
dispersed in expeditions, posts of occupation, and nu- 
merous armies; but should be mainly collected into masses 
and brought to bear upon the armies of the Confederate 
States. Those armies thoroughly defeated, the political 
structure which they support would soon cease to exist. 

In carrying out any system of policy which you may 
form, you wiU require a commander-in-chief of the army ; 
one who possesses your confidence, understands your 
views, and who is competent to execute your orders by 
directing the mOitary forces of the nation to the ac- 
complishment of the objects by you proposed. I do not 
ask that place for myself. I am willing to serve you in 
such position as you may assign me, and I will do so as 
faithfully as ever subordinate served superior. 

I maybe on the brink of eternity, and as I hope forgive- 
ness from my Maker, I have written this letter with sin- 
cerity towards you and from love for my country. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
Gr. B. McClellan, 
Major-General Commanding. 

His Excellency Abraham Lincoln, President.^ 

TMs letter marks the beginning of Greneral Mc- 
Olellan's distinctively political career. He had 
always been more or less in sympathy -with the 
Democratic party, and consequently in an attitude 
of dormant opposition to the Administration ; 
although, after the manner of officers of the regular 
service, he had taken no pronounced political atti- 
tude. In fact, on his first assuming command of 
the Army of the Potomac, he had seemed to be in 

1 Slight errors having crept into the original manuscript received 
this letter in its manifold pub- by the President, and now in our 
lications, we print it here from custody. 

Vol, v.— 29 



ch. xxrv. 

" History 

of the 

p. 163. 

W. R. 

Vol. XI., 

Part I., 

p. 48. 

full sympathy with the President and Cabinet, in 
the proceedings they thought proper to adopt for 
the suppression of the rebellion. He had even 
entered heartily into some of the more extreme 
measures of the Government. His orders to Gren- 
eral Banks directing the arrest of the secessionist 
members of the Maryland Legislature miight have 
been written by a zealous Eepublican. "When 
they meet on the 17th," he says, " you will please 
have everything prepared to arrest the whole party, 
and be sure that none escape." He urges upon him 
the "absolute necessity of secrecy and success"; 
speaks of the exceeding importance of the affair — 
"If it is successfully carried out it will go far 
towards breaking the backbone of the rebellion." 
This was in September, 1861. Later in that year 
he was repeatedly urged by prominent Democratic 
politicians to declare himself openly as a member 
of their party. They thought it would be to his 
advantage and to theirs to have the General- 
in-Chief of the Army of the Potomac decidedly 
with them. At this time he declined their over- 
tures, but they were pressingly repeated at York- 
town and afterwards ; and he appears finally to 
have yielded to their solicitations, and the fore- 
going letter was the result. 

It is not at all probable that this document was 
prepared during the flight from the Chickahominy, 
or during the first days of doubt and anxiety at Har- 
rison's Landing. It had probably been prepared 
long before, and is doubtless referred to in the gen- 
eral's dispatch of the 20th of June, in which he says, 
" I would be glad to have permission to lay before 
your Excellency, by letter or telegraph, my views as 

hakeison's landing 451 

to the present state of military affairs throughout ch.xxiv. 
the whole country." He had at that time some in- 
definite hope of taking Richmond ; and such a mani- 
festo as this, coming from a general crowned with 
a great victory, would have had a far different 
importance and influence from that which it en- 
joyed issuing from his refuge at Harrison's Bar, 
after a discrediting retreat. But the choice of 
occasion was not left to him ; the letter could not 
be delayed forever, and such as it was, it went forth 
to the country as the political platform of Gren- 
eral McClellan, and to the President as a note of 
defiance and opposition from the general in com- 
mand of the principal army of the United States. 
Though more moderate in form, this letter was as 
mutinous in substance as the dispatch from Sav- 
age's Station. He assumes to instruct the President 
as to his duties and the limits of his constitutional 
power. He takes it for granted that the President 
has no definite policy, and proceeds to give him 
one. Unless his advice is followed " our cause will 
be lost." He postures as the protector of the people 
against threatened arbitrary outrage. He warns 
the President against any forcible interference with 
slavery. He lets him know he can have no more 
troops, except on conditions known and approved. 
He tells him plainly that " a declaration of radical 
views, especially upon slavery, will rapidly disinte- 
grate our present armies." Finally, he directs him 
to appoint a commander-in-chief of the army, and 
thinks it necessary to inform him that he does not 
ask the place for himself. 

The President, engrossed with more important 
affairs, paid no attention, then or afterwards, to this 



CH.xxrv. letter.' He simply passed it by in good-natured 
silence. General McClellan continued his dis- 
patches, constantly announcing an impending at- 
tack upon his position, and constantly asking for 
reenforcements. He continued this until General 
Lee withdrew his army to Richmond, a movement 
which General McClellan at once characterized as 
" a retreat." 

During all the time McClellan remained at Har- 
rison's Landing his correspondence with the 
Government was fuU of recrimination and queru- 
lousness ; and his private letters which have been 
published since his death show an almost indecent 
hostility to his superiors. He writes : "I have no 
faith in the Administration. . . I am tired of serv- 
ing fools. . . Marcy and I have just been discuss- 
ing people in Washington, and conclude they are a 
' mighty trifling set.' . . I begin to believe they 
wish this army to be destroyed. When you contrast 
the policy I urge in my letter to the President with 
that of Congress and of Mr. Pope, you can readily 
agree with me that there can be little natural confi- 
dence between the Government and myself. We 
are the antipodes of each other. I am satisfied 
that the dolts in Washington are bent on my de- 
struction. . . My communication with Halleck was 
unsatisfactory in the extreme. He did not even 

July 20. 

July 31. 

August 2. 

August 10. 


August 14. 

1 McClellan in Ms memoirs 
("Own Story," pp. 444, 446, 
487), says he wrote this letter 
intending to send it by General 
Maroy to Washington, but as the 
President visited the army the 
next day, he handed it to him in 
person. He says Mr. Lincoln 
read it, "but made no comments 
upon it, merely saying when he 

had finished it, that he was 
obliged to me for it, or words to 
that effect. I do not think that 
he alluded further to it during his 
visit, or at any time after that." 
He sent a copy of the letter to 
his wife, asking her " to preserve 
it carefully, as a very important 
record," showing the political sig- 
nificance he attached to it. 

habbison's landing 453 

behave witli common politeness ; he is a Men mau- ch. xxiv. 
vaissiijet — he is not a gentleman." 

We need not multiply these utterances. They 
have already been judged by the highest authority, "tuc 
General Sherman says, referring to this period, ott™e^r 
"The temper of his correspondence, official and Eeteuion." 
private, was indicative of a spirit not consistent u2^az^l" 
with the duty of the commanding general of a p.'ssg^^' 
great army." 

The President had been much disturbed by the 
conflicting reports that reached him as to the con- 
dition of the Army of the Potomac, and he there- 
fore resolved by a personal visit to satisfy himself 
of the state of affairs. He reached Han-ison's 
Landing on the 8th of July, and while there con- 
ferred freely, not only with General McClellan him- 
self, but with many of the more prominent officers 
in command. With the exception of General Mc- 
Clellan, not one believed the enemy was then 
threatening his position. Sumner thought they 
had retired, much damaged ; Keyes that they had 
withdrawn to go towards Washington ; Porter that 
they dared not attack ; Heintzelman and Franklin 
thought they had retired ; Franklin and Keyes 
favored the withdrawal of the army from the James ; 
the rest opposed it. Mr. Lincoln came back bear- 
ing a still heavier weight of care. One thing that 
gave him great trouble was the enormous num- 
ber of absentees from the army. On returning to 
Washington he wrote this note to General Mc- 
Clellan, which, like most of his notes, it is impos- 
sible to abridge : 

I am told that over 160,000 men have gone into your 
army on the Peninsula. When I was with you the other 


ch.xxiv. day we made out 86,500 remaining, leaving 73,500 to be 

accounted for. I believe 23,500 will cover all the killed, 

wounded, and missing in all your battles and skirmishes, 

leaving 50,000 who have left otherwise. Not more than 

5000 of these have died ; leaving 45,000 of your army still 

alive and not with it. I believe half or two-thirds of 

them are fit for duty to-day. Have you any more perfect 

knowledge of this than I have ? If I am right, and you 

July 13, had these men with you, you could go into Eichmond in 

w?B. the next three days. How can they be got to you, and 

Pari iii' ^^^ °^^ *^^y ^® prevented from getting away in such 

p. 319. ' numbers for the future ? 

To this note the general replied in a letter which 
can hardly be regarded as a satisfactory answer to 
the President's searching questions. He says, in 
general terms, that there is always a difference 
between the returns and the effective force of armies. 
He thinks, but is not certain, that the force given to 
him is not so much as 160,000, but admits that he 
Vol.' xi., has at that moment, present for duty, 88,665 ; absent 
p. 321. ■' by authority, 34,472 ; without authority, 3778. This 
is very far from the " fifty thousand with their 
colors " which he reported a few days before ; and he 
gives no adequate reason for the vast aggregate of 
those absent by authority. 

But another question, far more important and 
more grievous, was, what was to be done with the 
Army of the Potomac ? General McClellan would 
listen to nothing but an enormous reenforcement 
of his army, and another chance to take Eichmond. 
Many of his prominent officers, on the contrary, 
thought that an advance on Eichmond under exist- 
ing conditions would be ill-advised, and that for 
the army to remain in its present position during 
the months of August and September would be 


more disastrous than an unsuccessful battle. The ch. xxiv. 
President had already placed General John Pope 
at the head of the Army of Virginia, in front of 
Washington, and he now took the resolution of 
sending to Corinth for General Halleck, whom he 
placed in chief command of the armies of the United 
States. This was done by an order of the 11th of 
July, and General Halleck was requested to start at 1862. 
once for Washington, As soon as he could place 
his command in the hands of General Grant, the 
next officer in rank in his department, he came on 
to Washington, assumed command of the army on 
the 23d, and the next day was sent to the camp of 
General McClellan, where he arrived on the 25th. 

He asked the general his wishes and views in re- 
gard to future operations, McClellan answered that 
he proposed to cross the James Eiver and attack 
Petersburg. Halleck stated his impression of the 
danger and impracticability of the plan, to which 
McClellan finally agreed. The General-in-Chief 
then told him that he regarded it as a military 
necessity to concentrate Pope's army and his on 
some point where they could at the same time cover 
Washington and operate against Eichmond ; unless 
it should be that McCleUan felt strong enough to 
take the latter place himself with such reinforce- 
ments as would be given him. McClellan thought 
he would require thirty thousand more than he had. 
HaUeck told him that the President could only 
promise twenty thousand, and that if McClellan 
could not take Eichmond with that number, some 
plan must be devised for withdrawing his troops 
from their present position to some point where 
they could unite with General Pope without expos- 


ch. XXIV. ing Washington. McClellan thought there would 
be no serious difficulty in withdrawing his forces for 
that purpose ; but he feared the demoralizing influ- 
ence of such a movement on his troops, and 
preferred they should stay where they were until 
sufficient reenforcements could be sent him. Hal- 
leck had no authority to consider that proposition, 
and told him that he must decide between advising 
the withdrawal of his forces to meet those of Pope, 
or an advance upon Richmond with such forces as 
the President could give him. Halleck gained the 
impression that McClellan's preference would be to 
withdraw and unite with General Pope ; but after 
consultation with his officers he informed Halleck 
the next morning that he would prefer to take Rich- 
mond. He would not say that he thought the 
probabilities of success were in his favor, but that 

voi.'xi., there was "a chance," and that he was "willing to 

Part III 

pp. 337, 338. try it." His officers were divided on the subject of 
withdrawing or making an attack upon Richmond. 
McClellan's delusion as to the number of the enemy 
had infected many of the most intelligent generals 
in his command. G-eneral Keyes, in a letter to 
"'hm^'' Quartermaster-General Meigs, assured him that 
the enemy had two hundred thousand, more than 

njid., p. 338. double our number. At the same time General 
Meigs himseK, simply from reading the Richmond 
newspapers and controlling their accounts with 
his own common-sense, had formed an estimate of 
the rebel force very much nearer the truth than 
that made by the generals at the front. He found 
it to consist of 152 regiments, which, at an average 
of 700 men — too high an average — would give a 

pp. 34o;'3ii. total force of 105,000. By General McClellan's 


returns for the lOtli of August he himself had an ch.xxiv. 
aggregate present of 113,000 men. voi.xi., 

X>nyi<- TFT 

Halleek's return to Washington was followed by p. 367. ' 
a shower of telegrams from McClellan urging the 
reenforcement of his army. " Should it be deter- 
mined to withdraw it," he says on the 30th of July, 1862. 
" I shall look upon our cause as lost, and the de- 
moralization of the army certain" — a statement ii)id.,p.342. 
which certainly was lacking in reserve. The weight 
of opinion, however, among the generals of highest 
rank, was on the other side. General Keyes wrote 
in the strongest terms urging the withdi'awal of the pp. 33C332. 
army. General Barnard, McClellan's chief of engi- ^^%l' 
neers, and General Franklin counseled the immedi- 
ate withdrawal from the James to reunite with the 
forces covering the capital. Upon General Halleek's 
return to "Washington, this course was resolved 
upon. General Halleek's first order in that direction 
was dated the 30th of July, requesting McClellan ibid., p. 77. 
to send away his sick as quickly as possible. Four 
days afterwards, without having taken in the mean 
while any steps to obey the order, McClellan sent 
General Hooker to Malvern HiU. He drove away 
the Confederates from there after a sharp cavalry 
skirmish. This so brightened McClellan's spirits 
that he telegraphed to Halleck on the 5th that Aug., 1862. 
with reenforcements he could march his army to 
Richmond in five days ; a suggestion to which v,^" xi., 

"pQ p-4- TTT 

Halleck made the curt rejoinder, " I have no reen- p. 359. " 
forcements to send you 


1 General Hooker told tlie Com- abandon Harrison's Landing lie 

mittee on the Conduct of the War went to him voluntarily and sug- 

a curious story about this affair, gested that, with the forces they 

He said that after General Mc- had there, they could take Eich- 

Clellan received his orders to mond, and urged him to do it. So 


CH. XXIV. The order to dispose of the sick was not promptly 
obeyed, because Greneral McClellan insisted upon 
knowing the intentions of the Grovernment in re- 
gard to his army, and after being informed that it 
was to be withdrawn from the James several days 
more were wasted in wearisome interchange of dis- 
patches between himself and Halleek; McClellan 
protesting with the greatest energy and feeling 
against this movement, and Halleek replying with 
perfect logic and temper in defense of it. In a 
long and elaborate dispatch, in which Halleek con- 
sidered the whole subject, he referred to the repre- 
sentation made to him by McCleUan and some of 
his officers that the enemy's forces around Rich- 
mond amounted to 200,000, and that McClellan had 
reported that they had since received large reen- 

General Pope's army covering Washington [he adds] 
is only about 40,000. Tour effective force is only about 
90,000. You are thirty miles from Richmond, and Gen- 
eral Pope eighty or ninety, with the enemy directly 
between you, ready to fall with his superior numbers 
upon one or the other as he may elect. . . If General 
Pope's army be diminished to reenforce you, Washing- 
ton, Maryland, and Pennsylvania would be left uncovered 
and exposed. If your force be reduced to strengthen 
Pope you would be too weak to even hold the position 

confident was Hooker that he was said Hooker, "that order meant 

willing to take the advance, and Bichmond. I had said to MeClel- 

so assured McClellan. On reach- Ian that if we were unsuccessful it 

ing his camp, about two hours would probably cost him his head, 

after that interview, he says he but that he might as well die for an 

found on his table an order from old sheep as for a lamb. . . But 

General McClellan to prepare before the time arrived for exeeu- 

himself with three days' rations ting that order it was eounter- 

and a supply of ammunition, and manded." — Hooker, Testimony, 

be ready to march at two o'clock Report of the Committee on the 

thenextday. "I firmly believe," Conductof theWar,Pt.I.,p.579. 


you now occupy. . . You say that the withdrawal from ch. xxiv. 
the present position will cause the certain demoraliza- 
tion of the army. . . I cannot understand why, . . . 
unless the officers themselves assist in that demoral- 
ization, which I am satisfied they will not. . . But you 
will reply. Why not reenforce me here so that I can 
strike Richmond from my present position? To do this 
you said at our interview that you required 30,000 addi- 
tional troops. . . You finally thought that you would 
have "some chance" of success with 20,000. But you 
afterward telegraphed me that you would require 35,000. 
... To keep your army in its present position until it 
could be so reenforeed would almost destroy it in that 
climate. . . In the mean time General Pope's forces would voi.' xi., 

• Part I 

be exposed to the heavy blows of the enemy without the p. 83." 
slightest hope of assistance from you. 

He tells McClellan in conclusion that a large 
number of his highest officers are decidedly in 
favor of the movement. 

Weary at last of arguments, Halleck became 
more and more peremptory in his orders; and this 
failing to infuse any activity into the movements 
of McClellan, he had recourse to sharp dispatches 
of censure which provoked only excuses and re- 
criminations. In some of his replies to Halleck's 
urgent dispatches, enjoining the greatest haste and 
representing the grave aspect of affairs in Northern 
Virginia, McClellan replied in terms that indicated 
as little respect for Halleck as he had shown for 
the President and Secretary of War. On the 6th 
of August, in answer to an order insisting on the 1862. 
immediate dispatch of a battery of artillery to 
Burnside, he calmly replies, " I will obey the order 
as soon as circumstances permit. My artillery is iwd., p. 79. 
none too numerous now." On the 12th, little or 
no progress having yet been made, he says, " There 


ch.xxiv. shall be no unnecessary delay, but I cannot manu- 
facture vessels. . . It is not possible for any one to 
place tMs army where you wish it, ready to move, 
in less than a month. If Washington is in danger 
now, this army can scarcely arrive in time to 

voi.'xi., save it. It is in much better position to do so 

Part I., ^ 

p-88. from here than from Aquia." At the same time 
the Quartermaster-Greneral reported that nearly 
every available steam vessel in the country was 
then under the control of Greneral McClellan. 
1862. Only on the 17th of August was McCleUan able to 
'iwd., p. 91. telegraph that he had left his camp at Harrison's 
Bar, and only on the 27th of the month, when 
Pope's campaign had reached a critical and peril- 
ous stage, did he report himself for orders at Alex- 
andria, near Washington. 


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